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Employment among young people falls to near 30-year low in Q1: report

All Headlines 09:20 April 26, 2010

SEOUL, April 26 (Yonhap) -- Employment among young people in the first quarter fell to a near 30-year low due to reduced hiring and demographic changes, a government report said Monday.

The report by Statistics Korea showed the number of employed people aged 20-29 stood at 3.70 million in the first three months of this year, the lowest tally since 3.49 million posted for the fourth quarter of 1981.

The number of jobs available to young people rose steadily from the 1980s to peak at over 5 million in the mid-1990s before starting to fall in the past decade. The total fell to just under the 4 million mark in the third quarter of 2007.

The statistical office said the main reason for the decline is that there are fewer young people in the country compared to the past.

In 1981, there were over 6.32 million people in the cited age group, with the number rising to a record 7.91 million in 1995. Last year the number of young people in the country was down to 6.49 million, and in the first quarter of 2010, the total was down further to 6.42 million -- or roughly the same level as in the early 1980s.

Another contributing factor is that companies have curtailed hiring in recent years amid the economic downturn.

Of all people in 20-29 age bracket, 57.6 percent held jobs in the January-March period, the second lowest ration since 57.1 percent tallied for the first quarter of 2009.

From 2000 through 2007 employment for young people stood at an average of 60 percent.

The latest report also said that a growing number of older people has caused employment for those over 60 to rise.

Employment among senior citizens reached a record 2.86 million in the third quarter of 2009. Although the number dipped to 2.35 million in the first quarter, it is was still higher than figures tallied in the past several years.

The number of people over 60 stood at little over 7.50 million in the first three months of this year, a near three-fold increase from 2.64 million reported in 1981. In 1981, there were just 800,000 seniors that had jobs.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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