Wednesday, February 10, 2010

South Korean unemployment surges to a ten-year high

So says Bloomberg:
South Korea’s unemployment rate rose to a 10-year high in January as construction companies shed workers amid concerns about the strength of the global recovery.

The jobless rate climbed to 4.8 percent from 3.5 percent in December, Statistics Korea said today in Gwacheon, citing seasonally adjusted figures. The rate matched the figure in February 2000.

President Lee Myung Bak’s administration is forecasting economic growth of 5 percent this year and says it will focus on boosting employment. The government said last month it plans to provide an allowance and tax incentives for unemployed people hired by small businesses, and will expand its database to match people seeking work with smaller companies that are hiring.

“The impact of government efforts from last year to create more jobs has waned, boosting the jobless rate,” said Go You Sun, an economist at Daewoo Securities Co. in Seoul. “The jobless rate jump, mixed signs in the economic recovery and rising risks from European economies together make it more difficult for the central bank to raise interest rates.”
The way rates are measured (i.e., what is considered unemployment) varies somewhat from country to country, so this 4.8 percent in South Korea (or Japan) might be the equivalent of something much higher in the United States, though I don't have a link to cite in support of that contention.

All I can say is "ouch." And also, it can't get nearly as bad as it is in Hawaii. Or can it?

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