The number of unemployment in South Korea in 2016 topped 1 million for the first time in 16 years with youth jobless rate hitting a fresh record high as jobs dwindled amid sweeping restructuring across the nation on top of a protracted economic slump.
According to data released by Statistics Korea, Wednesday, the number of unemployed totalled 1,012,000 last year, exceeding 1 million for the first time since 2000 when the government started to compile revised data. It is an increase of 36,000 from a year ago.
The employed reached 26,235,000 in 2016, up 299,000 from a previous year. This is higher than the government’s revised target of 290,000, but the number of newly added jobs fell to a seven-year low since 2009.
For the entire 2016, the jobless rate reached 3.7 percent, the highest since 2010, with that for young people hitting an all-time high of 9.8 percent.
The manufacturing sector last year shed 5,000 jobs on year to 4,481,000, hit by multiple scourges at home and abroad - massive restructuring in the nation’s backbone shipbuilding and shipping industries, lengthy shortfall in exports and rising political risk on presidential impeachment at home as well as growing protectionism on the global trade front.
The employment rate last year stood at 60.4 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from a year ago.
In December, the unemployment rate remained flat at 3.2 percent from a year ago, the government data showed. The country added 289,000 jobs to 26,168,000 in December from a year ago, but the number of jobs at the manufacturing sector dropped for six months in a row, shedding 115,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate of the youth aged between 15 and 29 stood at 8.4 percent last month, unchanged from a year ago but up slightly from the previous month’s 8.2 percent.
By Kim Gyu-sik
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