The International Labor Organization in a report earlier this month forecast that global unemployment will reach 6 percent in 2015, up from 5.4 percent in 2007 and 5.9 percent in 2012.
The ILO estimated the total number of unemployed people around the world will rise to 207.8 million by 2015, mainly due to growing joblessness in Europe, South Asia and Latin America.
Korea is no exception. According to government figures, the number of employed Koreans in their 20s fell by 90,000 in May compared to the same period a year ago. “At present, there is not enough demand to meet the supply in the number of workers,” said Hong Chung-hyo at Kyungnam University. “If the high rate of unemployment among young Koreans persists, we may end up with a vicious cycle of dwindling resources and taxes but increasing welfare costs.”
The government announced a roadmap earlier this month to boost the 64.2-percent employment rate to 70 percent by 2017 through the creation of 238 new kinds of jobs. Provincial governments are also rolling up their sleeves to create jobs.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to spend W423.1 billion (US$1=W1,155) to create 210,000 jobs, while Gyeonggi Province surrounding the capital announced plans to create 126,000 jobs by investing W2.78 trillion to support 126 business projects.
Changwon city in industrial southeastern Korea believes job creation is the best social welfare program and has created 48,646 jobs over the past three years supporting regional businesses and bolstering the area’s economy. As a result, 5,974 more people have found jobs, while the number of “social enterprises,” or businesses that contribute to the betterment of society, has risen from 20 to 45.
Changwon was the first city in Korea to announce a broad job-creation program and has been holding a job far every month since March of this year. The last job fair on June 19 drew 33 successful companies in the region and led to 111 people finding work through on-site interviews and another 53 via online applications filed at the venue.
The fair also included seminars on starting venture businesses with experts offering consulting on new start-ups, marketing and funding. Prof. Hong Chung-hyo at Kyungnam University lectured on start-up businesses, providing essential information for people seeking to shift to new job fields and open their own businesses.
Free health check-ups were offered to jobseekers at the fair, as well as free ID photo shoots and job compatibility tests. “The aim of the job fair is to offer a wide range of opportunities at small- and mid-sized companies for the underprivileged and to address the imbalance in supply and demand in the job market,” said Park Bu-keun at Changwon city. He added that additional job fairs will be held targeting retirees.
Meanwhile, Changwon city formed a committee made up of government workers, researchers and academics in May to oversee a broad program seeking to create new jobs in new fields. The city also operates a training center for entrepreneurs and incubators for venture businesses.