SEJONG, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) — The unemployment rate for young people in South Korea rose sharply last year to surpass that of the United States for the first time in 16 years, data showed Sunday.
The jobless rate for those aged between 15 and 24 reached 10.7 percent in 2016, up from the previous year’s 10.5 percent, according to the data by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
It marked the highest number reached since 2000, when Asia’s fourth-largest economy reported an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent and topped the U.S. figure of 10.4 percent. At the time the world’s largest economy had been experiencing a steady recovery for years.
South Korea has seen its youth unemployment rate rise since 2013, along with Austria, Switzerland, Finland, France and Turkey, the latest OECD findings showed.
Experts noted that amid the global economic downturn, South Korea’s relatively tight job market dealt a hard blow to young jobseekers.
“It is largely because of the rigidity of the local job market as only a few countries experienced a rise in the youth jobless rate,” said professor Sung Tae-yoon from Yonsei University. “Also, the higher youth unemployment rate is tied to the country’s industrial structure failing to keep up with the rapid change in technology.”