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Long-term unemployment rate hits 14-yr high

All News 09:53 January 15, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's job market is under strain from not only a rising unemployment rate but also an increasing number of people who have been jobless for a long time, data showed Sunday.

The number of jobseekers surpassed 1 million in 2016 for the first time since 2000, according to Statistics Korea.

Of the total, 133,000 were unemployed for more than half a year, accounting for 13.1 percent of the unemployed.

It marks the highest number since 13.8 percent was posted in 2002.

The rate reached double digits in 2015 after staying between 6-9 percent since 2008.

The number of people trying to find jobs for one year or longer also topped 9,000, or 0.9 percent.

The trend adds to worries that Asia's fourth-biggest economy might have entered a chronic economic slump, not a temporary downturn.

"Such a long-term unemployment phenomenon appears to be attributable to fierce competition for a declining number of jobs in the face of more jobseekers," a Statistics Korea official said.

Experts said it's yet another indication that the low growth of the South Korean economy is being protracted.

"It is evidence of low growth being prolonged," said Byun Yang-kyu, a senior researcher at the Korea Economic Research Institute. "In particular, there is a severe impact from a reduction in the number of manufacturing jobs."

lcd@yna.co.kr
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