- Unemployment rate among South Korean youths stayed high last month amid rising concerns about massive layoffs in shipping and shipbuilding industries that are subject to the government-led corporate restructuring, a government report showed on Wednesday.
Jobless rate among youths aged 15-29 was 9.7 percent in May, higher than any figures tallied in the same month in past years, according to Statistics Korea. It was up 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.
The jobless rate among youths continued to rise from 7.4 percent in May 2013 to 8.7 percent in May 2014 and 9.3 percent in the month in 2015.
Actual youth jobless rate, which includes youths who have an irregular job but want to get a full-time position, already surpassed more than 30 percent, according to the Hyundai Research institute (HRI) report.
Criticisms have continued here over the official jobless rate as the figure fails to reflect real labor market conditions especially among youths. According to some local media reports, about half of college graduates failed to get decent jobs due to the worsening labor conditions.
The government has been pushing for restructuring in shipping and shipbuilding industries, in which tens of thousands of workers are expected to be laid off when including the numbers from subcontractors. College graduates are forecast to be driven into harder conditions to find a job in the course of the ongoing restructuring.
Overall unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in May, down 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier. But, the so-called sentiment jobless rate reached 10.8 percent last month.
An official unemployment rate gauges the percentage of those unemployed who actively sought jobs in the past four weeks to the sum of those employed and unemployed.
The sentiment jobless rate, which measures the potentially unemployed, includes part-time workers who hope to get a regular job working more than 36 hours a week and those who want to work but reply during the job survey that they conducted no job-searching efforts in the past four weeks.
The unemployment rate in regions along the country's southeast coastline, where shipbuilding docks and ports are gathered, advanced 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier to 3.7 percent in May amid the government-led restructuring.
The government ordered shipbuilders to submit self-restructuring plan, including labor and pay cuts, in return for extended loans by state-run banks to shipbuilders that had been struggling with massive losses and shrinking orders amid the global economic slowdown and oil price falls.
The total number of those employed was 26.45 million in May, up 261,000 from the same month of last year. The monthly employment growth in May inched up from 252,000 in April.
The hiring rate, which gauges the percentage of working people to the working-age population, or those above 15, was 61.0 percent in May, up 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier.
The employment rate is used as an alternative to jobless rate, and the government set a long-term target at 70 percent.
By industry, manufacturers added 50,000 jobs in May, a relatively dismal figure on falling exports and the restructuring process. Job creation in the manufacturing industry hovered above 100,000 for 23 months through March, before continuing to fall below that level.
Social welfare and healthcare industries created 89,000 jobs in May, with restaurants and lodging industries employing 88,000 workers. Agricultural and fishery sectors cut 99,000 jobs, while wholesale and retail industries reduced jobs by 83,000 last month.
The economically inactive population, or those aged above 15 minus the sum of those employed and unemployed, reached 15.932 million in May, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier.
Those who prepare for getting a job increased 7.0 percent from a year earlier to 651,000 in May.