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[Editorial] Job Creation Contingency Plan Needed

Posted August. 16, 2008 07:17,   


The number of new jobs in July rose a meager 153,000 year-on-year, failing to reach 200,000 for five consecutive months. This year’s average monthly employment is 186,000, falling far short of the 350,000 pledged by President Lee Myung-bak at his February inauguration and his revised figure of 200,000. Last year saw an average of 373,000 persons get jobs in the service sector every month, but July this year posted just 244,000.

The tight job market is harder on college students who enter the job market after graduation. Job openings for those with more than one year of work experience rose 540,000 over the first five months of the year. Those for inexperienced jobseekers, however, fell 230,000 over the same period. This means a great majority of graduates are idling away without jobs. As of July, the economically inactive population with higher education numbered 2.57 million, up nearly 200,000 from a year ago. Statistically, they are not counted among the unemployed because they don’t seek jobs. The employment rate of those in their 20s decreased 1.2 percentage points to 60.1% from a year ago.

The dearth of jobs affects temporary workers, the self-employed and the elderly. The number of temporary jobs, which began falling after the Non-Regular Workers Protection Act took effect last July, plummeted nearly 100,000 in the first half of the year. That of those starting their own business over the same period dropped 70,000. New hiring of those over age 65 increased 100,000 in the first half of last year, but the figure for this year was 10,000.

With more people giving up finding employment and those not willing to seek employment, the unemployment rate of 3.1 percent for July is misleading. Failure to create more jobs will increase the number of the disgruntled, which, in turn, adversely affects the economy. A saying goes that job security is the best welfare the government can give to its people, but the country`s “job welfare” has hit bottom.

Despite this grave situation, the government is presenting non-practical measures. It must come up with a breakthrough to revive the construction industry, which boosts domestic consumption and job creation, and to match the needs of jobseekers and those of employers.