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S. Korean youths face tight job market

All News 10:46 January 17, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's employment-to-population ratio inched up last year thanks to a rising number of new employees in their 60s, but younger jobseekers still struggled with a slack labor market, data showed Sunday.

The employment-to-population ratio ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 60.3 percent in 2015, hitting the highest mark ever but failing to reach the government's 70 percent target, data by Statistics Korea showed.

Employees aged 60 or over grew at the fastest clip, with 172,000 landing new jobs last year.

Those in their 50s took 149,000 new jobs, with the total number of employees reaching nearly 6 million.

In contrast, younger jobseekers had difficulties in landing new jobs.

The number of new employees in their 30s decreased 38,000 last year, falling for the ninth consecutive year. The corresponding figure for 20-somethings increased 68,000.

Despite the rising number of jobs for seniors, experts say the quality of jobs remained poor because many of them were on short-term contracts doing manual labor.

"Baby boomers in their 50s are delaying their retirement to prepare for their later years, while seniors are forced to continue to work as they need money," said Lee Jun-hyun, a researcher at Hyundai Economic Institute.


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