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Unemployment Rate Reached Worst Level in Four Years

Posted March. 22, 2005 22:14,   


Despite signs of rebound for domestic demand, the job market remains frozen.

The unemployment rate for February surpassed the four percent level for the first time in 47 months, and the jobless rate among people in their 20s exceeded the eight percent level for the first time in a year.

According to a monthly report released by National Statistical Office, the total number of unemployed last month rose by 25,000 to 925,000, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent, the highest level since March 2001 when it reached 4.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, however, was 3.5 percent, a 0.1 percent decrease from January.

The number of unemployed people between the ages of 15 to 29 was 425,000, a decrease of 6,000 from January. The jobless rate for people in their 20s, however, showed sharp decline at 8.4 percent, reaching its highest level in a year after recording 8.7 percent in February 2004. The number of unemployed in the category was 389,000, reflecting the frozen job market condition for college graduates.

The unemployment rate for those in their 30s was 3.5 percent, a 47-month high after recording 3.9 percent in March 2001. The unemployment rate for those in their 40s was 2.7 percent, also the highest level since April of last year.

"While the economy is showing signs of steady recovery, the job market has not shown improvement," the National Statistical Office explained. "The decrease in the unemployment rate of young people is definitely a positive sign."

Categorized by industrial sectors, the number of employees for the business, personal, and public service industry sector increased by 348,000. Electric, logistics, telecommunication, and finance sector also hired 21,000 more people than the same month last year. Construction (96,000), agriculture, forest, and fishery industry (94,000), and wholesale, retail, restaurant and lodging industry (79,000) showed declines.

Byong-Ki Lee eye@donga.com