Some 329,000 unemployed people have given up looking for jobs and are just staying home, accounting for 22.4 percent of all jobless people, Statistics Korea said Thursday. That is almost twice the number of unemployed young people who are looking for jobs.
Among the jobless young, 256,000 said they have given up looking for work, accounting for 17.4 percent of young unemployed people.
Economists fear that the so-called “NEET” tribe (Not in Education, Employment or Training) is growing. According to the OECD, 18 percent of Koreans between 15 to 29 are NEETs, compared to an average 14.6 percent among OECD nations.
Bin Hyun-joon at Statistics Korea said, “Young Koreans may be placing more importance on leisure time these days, or there may have been a rise in the number of people falling ill, but we’re seeing a record number giving up on job searches every month”.
The raise of the minimum hourly wage to W7,530 next year could prompt more young Koreans to accept part-time work (US$1=W1,121). In the past, they tended to think of part-time jobs as at best temporary fixes. But as the job market grows tougher, more are expected to opt instead to juggle multiple part-time jobs.
One recent university graduate said, “I think I could end up making ends meet by handling multiple part-time jobs if the minimum wage increases, and it seems better to take it easy instead of being tied up with a stressful full-time job and working long hours”.