Youth unemployment reaches over 10 percent

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Youth unemployment reaches over 10 percent

Korea’s unemployment among youth remained high with no signs of recovery last year, data showed Sunday, despite solid improvements in the job markets of other advanced economies.

According to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the country’s unemployment among those ages 15 to 24 came to 10.2 percent for the July-September of 2017, marking the third consecutive quarter that the figure hovered above the 10-percent mark.

The unemployment among young people has been increasing in Korea since the third quarter of 2012, when the figure stood at 9 percent.

Compared to Asia’s fourth-largest economy, other members of the Paris-based OECD reported sharp gains in employment among youth, following signs of economic recovery.

The average unemployment rate of the youth among OECD members came to 12.1 percent in the second quarter of 2017, down from 16.2 percent tallied in 2012.

While Korea’s third-quarter unemployment rate of 10.2 percent may seem lower than the average of the OECD, standing 10th place among its 35 members, experts said the situation is worrisome as other countries have been showing improvement over the cited period.

The United States, Japan, Germany and France saw their unemployment rate of youth reach 7.9 percent, 16.2 percent, 8.2 percent and 23.8 percent, respectively, in the second quarter of 2012, but the numbers dropped to 4.9 percent, 9 percent, 6.4 percent and 22.5 percent for the same period in 2017.

Korea’s overall unemployment also posted a sharp growth compared to other members. Its third-quarter unemployment came to 3.7 percent in the third quarter of 2017, rising 0.6 percentage point from five years earlier.

The growth also marked the fourth-steepest growth pace.

Experts said Korea’s job market deteriorated despite its economic growth as it depended heavily on the semiconductor industry, which tends to generate fewer jobs.

The Korea International Trade Association’s estimate shows the chip segment’s exports generated 110,000 additional jobs in 2016, while that of the automobile sector reported 230,000.

The latest labor policies rolled out by the Moon Jae-in administration are also seen as putting a burden on job sector recovery, experts added.

“The labor market’s inflexibility has a direct relationship with the youth’s unemployment,” said Sung Tae-yoon, a professor of economics at Yonsei University. Yonhap
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