[EDITORIALS]Young people need jobsThe number of workers in their 20s, a time when people should be starting their careers, is falling. The rate of decline is larger among men than women. The number of 20-something male employees has dropped consistently for the past 41 months, posting a record decline of 5.8 percent in October, the largest since the financial crisis in the late 1990s.
For the first time since the National Statistical Office began keeping track of the working population in 1982, the number of working men in their 20s fell below the 2 million mark in August, and has not recovered in the three months since then. If this trend persists, it will become harder still to find young men at work as time goes by.
There are several reasons for the continuous decline in working youths. Because of low birth rates, the economically active population in their 20s is decreasing. With a growing number of university graduates opting for graduate school, the number of jobseekers has also fallen.
All of this does not make it any easier on jobseekers, some of whom later choose to attend graduate school if they cannot find jobs after obtaining undergraduate degrees. Young people in this situation are not classified as unemployed, but in fact they are not employed.
The unemployment rate for people in their 20s has been over 7 percent since the financial crisis. Those who do find work end up at temporary jobs or do part-time work. Many jobseekers hold doctoral degrees and they tend to be academically overqualified, and there is also a tendency to shun physically demanding work.
The situation has led to a rising number of so-called “kangaroos,” who elect to live in the comforting pockets of their parents instead of trying to find work.
If the labor market cannot receive an infusion of youthful blood, it presents a problem for the national economy. The larger the number of unemployed young people, the worse the effects on the household economy.
More veteran workers will not find youthful successors to whom they can pass down their business knowledge gained from years of first-hand experience. If the aging of the society progresses further, the burden on young employees will only grow bigger.
Although it is unavoidable that changes in the demographic structure are reducing the number of youths available, the most pressing issue now is to improve the economy by creating jobs for those who are ready to work. The ideas of balance and equal distribution do not help in that regard.