Go to contents

[Reporter`s view] Unemployment policy lacks substance

Posted November. 17, 2000 15:04,   


Despite mounting worries about massive unemployment, the Labor Ministry doesn't seem to worry about it, saying that this country handled the question even when the number of jobless people soared to 1.8 million after the outbreak of the foreign exchange crisis.

The ministry's optimism is based on the assumption that Korea has set up an employment insurance system in the shortest period of time in the world. Ministry officials contend that the problem can be solved by properly implementing the existing policy.

The ministry estimated that the jobless rate would rise to 4.4% with up to 960,000 unemployed people in February next year. The figure includes college students who will graduate by that time.

However, officials of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions criticized that the government is reducing the projected number of jobless people due to political reasons. Last week, the government reported at the labor-management-government committee that the restructuring alone will result in laying off around 90,000 workers.

The Korea Institute of Labor also estimated that the unemployed people would number 1.1 million by February under the worst scenario. Officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economy pointed out the Labor Ministry's statistics did not include temporary workers employed by companies under restructuring program.

Also, experts indicate that the plan announced by the Labor Ministry for employment security has no substance. They noted that the government has to frankly admit the problem of existing employment policy while making a precise forecast on unemployment to work out a long-term program that could create new jobs.

Chung Yong-Kwan yongari@donga.com