The South Korean government plans to propose a supplementary budget on top of this year’s record-high 429 trillion won ($401 billion) spending to specifically address ever-worsening youth unemployment.
“We must take preemptive measures as over 400,000 will newly join the labor market over the next three to four years. If we don’t’ take action now, the youth jobless problem will become a major crisis,” said Kim Dong-yeon, deputy prime minister and finance minster in a cabinet meeting on Friday.
The government will announce the budget outline and new measures addressing youth unemployment on March 15.
In the next three or four years, nearly 400,000 born between 1991 and 1996 to parents of the Korean baby boomers will be fighting for already-scarce jobs.
The unemployment rate for youth or people aged between 15 and 29 last year rose to its worst-ever level of 9.9 percent, nearly three times higher than the overall jobless of 3.7 percent.
“We must take a different approach ranging from structural reforms to radical actions to promote growth in new industries,” he said.
“We will employ all possible policy tools from budget level to tax breaks,” he said.
The measures which will also address aids to southern regions where massive layoffs are planned due to streamlining in shipyards and shuttering of GM Korea Gunsan factory will come ahead of the June local elections, which can serve as the first vote of confidence for President Moon Jae-in who was elected in a snap election in May last year with an economic platform to increase jobs and income for ordinary people.
By Cho Si-young and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]