South Korea’s jobless rate for people aged 15 to 24 surpassed that of the United States for the first time in 16 years after a rise for four straight years, according to data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Sunday.
The unemployment rate for this age group gained 0.2 percentage point on year to 10.7 percent in Korea last year, the data showed. This is the highest since 2000 when it was tallied at 10.8 percent and higher than that of the U.S. for the first time in 16 years.
In comparison with the group of seven major industrial countries between 2013 and 2015, Korea’s youth jobless rate was higher than that of Japan (in a 5 to 6 percent range) and Germany (in a 7 percent range), while it was lower compared with France and Italy whose youth jobless rate was in the 20 percent range and 40 percent range, respectively, in the period.
The average youth jobless rate of among the OECD members soared to 16.5 percent in 2009 when the global economy was hit by a financial crisis, but it began to decline from 2014 and fell further to 13.9 percent in 2015. In contrast, the youth jobless rate in Korea has continued to rise for four consecutive years since 2013 when it stood at 9.3 percent. Except Korea, only five OECD countries - France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Turkey - have seen their youth unemployment rate gain for three straight years until 2015.
Korea’s youth jobless rate remains high amid protracted economic doldrums and political uncertainty that seem to be holding back local businesses from spending more on new investments and employing new workers.
Youth unemployment rate in Asia’s fourth largest economy was 9.8 percent last year, according to the country’s official government statistics. If those willing to work are added, the measure was 22.0 percent. Korea calculates the youth jobless rate for people aged 15 to 29, higher than the OECD age criteria, considering a longer time to being hired in Korea particularly due to mandatory military service for men.
By Kim Se-woong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]