Changing Trends in the Korean Youth Unemployment Crisis: 2004 – 2011

Authors

1 Sogang University, Korea

2 Korea Labor Institute, Korea

Abstract

 Korea’s youth unemployment problem has continued to worsen since 2004. According to an E24, J64, an analysis of raw data from Statistics Korea’s Economically Active Population Survey and Supplementary Results of the Economically Active Population Survey on Youths to confirm whether youth unemployment affects all youths, more youths were delaying graduation or taking leaves of absence due to unemployment. In addition, the degree of hardship experienced was found to differ among youths: the younger and less educated tended to suffer more, and women tended to suffer more than men.   Meanwhile, an analysis of whether the youth unemployment problem had a negative impact on the quality of youth jobs showed that, contrary to speculation, during the period between 2004 and 2011 the quality of jobs improved or at least remained the same in almost every respect, including wage levels, percentage of permanent or above-one-year contract positions, and social insurance subscriptions. According to a time-series analysis of the effect of business size on wages performed to investigate the cause of this phenomenon by applying an estimated wage function, during the period from 2004 to 2011, the wage premium according to business size increased among not only youths but all wage workers.   Such a result contradicts the government’s previous claim that youth unemployment can be solved by creating “decent jobs.” While it is important to create “decent jobs,” what is also important is to bridge the gap in the quality of jobs. In other words, it is necessary to improve the quality of jobs located in the margins of the job ladder in order to solve the youth unemployment issue, and achieving this requires improvement of the competitiveness and working conditions at small and medium-sized enterprises and middle-standing enterprises. JEL Classification: E24, J64

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