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More young people start businesses amid sluggish job market: data

A growing number of South Koreans in their 20s have started their own businesses amid a feeble employment market. (Yonhap)
A growing number of South Koreans in their 20s have started their own businesses amid a feeble employment market. (Yonhap)

As the local job market has remained in limbo due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of South Koreans in their 20s have started their own businesses, data showed Wednesday. 

According to data compiled by Statistics Korea and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, a total of 449,000 startups were launched by individuals between January and April amid a feeble employment market. 

Of the total, people aged 30 and under opened 59,000 enterprises during the cited period, up nearly 20 percent on-year, while the companies of those in their 30s saw a 5.6 percent increase. 

However, the number of new businesses set up by people in their 40s and 50s sharply decreased by 11.9 percent and 24.4 percent from a year earlier, respectively.

In 2020, young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 were also the most active age group in terms of opening new businesses, with the number jumping 18.7 percent on-year.

A startup boom among young Koreans has been triggered by the pandemic‘s lingering impact on the job market.

COVID-19 dealt a significant blow to young jobseekers. The de facto jobless -- which is based on the number of unemployed and underemployed in the economically active population -- among those aged 15-29 rose 3.5 percentage points in December 2019, a month before COVID-19 swept the nation, to 24.3 percent in May 2021. 

“The ongoing recovery of the local job market is concentrated in a certain age and industry. Various measures should be taken to create jobs for the manufacturing industry and those in their 30s and 40s,” said Noh Min-sun, a researcher at the Korea Small Business Institute. 


By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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