The number of South Koreans “effectively unemployed” topped 4.5 million for the first time in 2016, according to new data released by Statistics Korea on Monday.
According to the state-run statistics agency, the number of “effectively unemployed” Koreans -- including those without a job, prospective job seekers and people who work less than 18 hours a week -- surpassed 4.54 million last year.
That number is around 4.5 times higher than the number of “officially unemployed” Koreans formally counted last year at 1.01 million people, according to the agency.
By category, the number of job seekers preparing for recruitment independently without any form of paid assistance stood at 401,000 people in 2016, up 7.21 percent from the 374,000 counted the year before.
The number of job seekers preparing for a job at an academy or paid institution stood at 227,000 people last year.
The number working less than 18 hours a week reached 1.27 million in 2016, up 4 percent from the year before. The number of people who said they “took time off” last year stood at 1.63 million.
Hit by a continued economic downturn and widened restructuring programs at many companies, Korea is headed for another year of continued unemployment in 2017, Statistics Korea suggested.
Employment rates declined in 2016 compared to the year before. The employment rate rose 0.1 percentage point from 2015 to 2016, in contrast to an increase of 0.7 percentage points from 2014 to 2015, according to the agency’s data.
By Sohn Ji-young (email@example.com