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Unemployment tops one million

Posted March. 20, 2001 17:58,   


The number of jobless people has exceeded 1 million again. The jobless rate among those in their 30s was found to be rapidly growing, officials said Tuesday.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), unemployment in February reached 1,069,000 people, up 87,000 from the previous month. The jobless rate also jumped to 5 percent in February from 4.6 percent in January. NSO officials said this was the first time since March, last year, that the number of unemployed people passed the 1 million mark and the jobless rate of 5 percent is also the highest in a year after February last year, which saw 5.3 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also rose from 4.1 percent in January to 4.2 percent in February.

NSO officials said that the number of jobless people tends to increase in winter. ``The unemployment rate tends to peak in February,`` said Sun Ju-Dae, bureau chief for social statistics at the NSO. ``Actually, joblessness as a result of economic slowdown and restructuring last month dropped to 22,000 each from January`s 40,000,`` he said.

However, analysts noted that the statistics revealed the nation has structural unemployment problems. To begin with, the number of unemployed people has increased in all age groups. The number of jobless among those in their 30s and 20s increased in February by 26,000 and 22,000, respectively, from January, indicating that unemployment among young people is emerging as a serious social challenge.

The country`s jobless rate, based on the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), recorded 5.4 percent in February, up 0.4 percentage points from a month earlier.

Choi Young-Hae moneychoi@donga.com