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Record number of job quitters remain unemployed

A record number of South Koreans who quit their jobs more than a year ago remained unemployed in November amid a severe job crunch, government data showed Thursday.

According to the data from Statistics Korea, those people accounted for 30 percent of the country's total jobless tallied at 874,000 last month.

It marks the first time that the ratio has reached the 30 percent mark since the agency started to compile related data in June 1999.


The figure had stayed in the 10 percent range before exceeding the 20 percent level after the 2008 global financial crisis and hitting the mid- and upper-20 percent band after the 2012 European fiscal crisis.

After hovering around 25 percent recently, the ratio rose to 26.1 percent in September and 27.8 percent in October.

The jump in the ratio is widely seen as reflecting the tough market situation for those who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time, as well as young jobseekers.

"There is an upturn in the number of job quitters who remain unemployed for a long time amid no signs of improvements in the labor market," an agency official said.

South Korea's jobless rate stood at 3.2 percent in November, up 0.1 percentage point from a year ago. The unemployment rate for people aged 15-29 rose to 9.2 percent from 8.2 percent a year earlier. (Yonhap)