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Last Year`s Unemployment Recipients Highest since IMF Era

Last Year`s Unemployment Recipients Highest since IMF Era

Posted July. 11, 2004 22:25,   


With continuing economic depression and lack of jobs, the number of people who qualified for unemployment allowances last year is the highest since the era of control by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the Statistical Annual Report of Employment Insurance released by the Human Resources Development Service of Korea yesterday, qualified unemployment allowance recipients last year numbered 375,561, a 26.4% increase from 297,109 people in 2002. This number is the highest since 434,199 people were qualified for unemployment during the 1998 financial crisis.

Unemployment allowances are offered to provide for the stable livelihood and re-employment of those who have lost their job in unavoidable situations. Fifty percent of the person`s average salary before retirement (up to 35,000 won per day) is granted for 90 to 240 days, according to age and the length of time on employment insurance.

The qualified unemployment recipients vary in age: 21 percent are 25 to 29 years old, 17.4 percent are 30 to 34, 12.4 percent are 35 to 39, and 12.2 percent are 40 to 44--for a total of 63 percent of unemployment recipients under the age of 45. These numbers highlight the problem of worsening unemployment among young adults and people in their middle age. By the education, the rate was: 45.7 percent for high-school graduates and 28.5 percent for college graduates.

The reasons for the job losses included: “retirement from company situations including delayed salary payment” for 62.3 percent; “end of contract or end of construction" for 10.1 percent; and “close of business, bankruptcy and halt of construction" for 9.1 percent. On the other hand, the rate of retirement forced by the age limit was only 2.7 percent.

In addition, the cases of unemployment allowance recipients who were re-employed within 60 days of losing their jobs decreased from 65.2 percent in 1998 to 53.3 percent in 2003.

“The scope of qualified recipients has been broadened to include people from every business with more than one employee since October 1998, and economic depression has been ongoing. This has afflicted small-scale businesses to a great degree, as shown in these numbers,” said Choi Gi-dong, manager of employment insurance at the Ministry of Labor.

Jong-Hoon Lee taylor55@donga.com