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No. of Jobless Hits 1 Mln for 1st Time Since `98

Posted April. 13, 2009 08:50,   


The number of jobless is known to have hit a million last month for the first time in eight years.

According to private think tanks yesterday, the number of jobless will top one million when the National Statistical Office announces employment statistics for March Wednesday.

If the number tops one million, it will be the highest since 1.1 million in March 2003. Considering the number of jobless only, the situation is worse than in the period following the bursting of the credit card bubble in 2002, and is coming closer to the situation seen in 1998, when the Asian financial crisis struck.

Yoo Byung-kyu, head of the economic research headquarters at Hyundai Research Institute, said, “As the economy is continuing to slow, the employment index for March will likely be worse than February`s.”

“Concerns over unemployment will continue to linger through this year’s first half amid the economic recession.”

The number of jobless rose from 736,000 in October last year to 750,000 in November, 787,000 in December, 848,000 in January, and 924,000 in February. The jobless rate was 3.9 percent in February and probably reached four percent last month for the first time in four years.

An official with the Strategy and Finance Ministry said, “Though employment indexes including the jobless rate and the number of employed remain low, the job market is doing fairly well considering Korea`s negative economic growth.”

“However, it is difficult to predict whether the job market has improved because employment indicators tend to move behind economic trends."