Long-term unemployed in Jan. hits 19-year high

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Long-term unemployed in Jan. hits 19-year high

The number of people who have been unemployed for over six months topped 150,000 in January, a 19-year high for the month, as the country continues to face difficulty in reviving the depressed job market.

According to data from Statistics Korea, job seekers who have been without a job for longer than six months increased 4.7 percent on year to 155,000 in January from 148,000 last year. The figure for January is the highest since 2000 when it was at 167,000.

The number of short-term unemployed, or job seekers who have been looking for less than three months, also jumped to 776,000 last month from 603,000 in January last year. Those who have stopped looking for work despite intending to continue working have also increased. This number hit 605,000, the highest since the figure began being recorded, according to data from the statistics agency.

In a separate survey conducted by local job portal Job Korea of 326 job seekers released Saturday, 45.7 percent of the job seekers have experience giving up on looking for a job mainly because they were anxious about their situation. The growing number of unemployed job seekers reflects the broader situation of the struggling local job market.

According to a Statistics Korea report last week, the number of new jobs created in January was 19,000, the lowest in five months. Overall, the number of unemployed for last month reached the highest level in 10 months, at 1.22 million, just under the 1.25 million recorded last March. The unemployment rate for the last month stood at 4.5 percent, up 0.8 percentage points from a year ago. The worsening situation for the manufacturing sector is largely to blame for the situation. The sector shed 170,000 jobs last month compared to January last year.

Amid slowing job numbers, the government is looking to expand a job model in which local governments and private companies form joint ventures to create new jobs.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]

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