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(Yonhap Editorial) Gov't needs to make more aggressive effort to solve youth unemployment problem

All Headlines 16:54 June 01, 2012

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- The number of adults in their 30s and 40s living with their parents has grown substantially in the past decade and economic problems are cited as a major reason for the phenomenon indicating the seriousness of youth unemployment.

The number of such adults categorized as the so-called "kangaroo tribe" soared 91.4 percent during 2000 and 2010 in Seoul, led by rising house prices and childcare costs, according to a report released by the Seoul Metropolitan Government Friday. The report showed that the number of such adults aged 30 to 49 jumped to 484,663 in 2010, compared with 253,244 in 2000.

The report was based on an analysis by the city government of the 10-year statistics of the national census, it said.

According to the report, 39.5 percent of the elderly parents said they live with their adult children even after their marriage because their children are unable to live independently for economic reasons or they have to take care of their grandchildren. Another 32.3 percent said they live with their grown-up children because of their own economic and health reasons, it said.

The growth of the kangaroo tribe is becoming a social problem in the United States and Japan as well. One of five adults is categorized as a kangaroo tribe member in the United States while the number of kangaroo tribe members reportedly stands at 3 million in Japan.

The increase in the number of kangaroo tribe is not unrelated with youth unemployment. People who fail to get jobs at the "right time" after graduating from colleges and universities are continuously excluded from the job market because they lack job experience. Accordingly, they have to have longer periods of being unemployed.

The employment conditions in the country have been improving in general, but the youth unemployment has not gotten better.

According to Statistics Office's employment statistics for April, the number of employed people rose by 455,000 in the month from March. The unemployment rate in all age brackets has been falling since March last year to stand at 3.5 percent in April. However, that unemployment rate for the youth aged between 15 and 29 years was still very high at 8.5 percent.

The increase in the number of unmarried and unemployed people brings about the vicious circle of the low birthrate and a decrease of the labor population. The growth of the kangaroo tribe should not be considered as a minor problem considering that quantity and quality of labor will decrease and the nation's growth impetus will be jeopardized by the large number of such people.

So the government should work out more solutions to solve the youth unemployment problem.

While many young people cannot find jobs, small and medium-sized industries (SMEs) are suffering from lack of necessary manpower. The government should carry out effective polices to support the SMEs to strengthen their competitiveness and by doing so increase their ability to offer more jobs for young people.

College graduates are also advised to give up only searching for jobs at big companies and seek jobs that are suitable to their capabilities and aptitude.

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