Number of workers in 50s hits record high

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Number of workers in 50s hits record high

 

June 17, 2005


The number of employees in their 50s rose to an all-time high in March as an increasing number of older Koreans get jobs again after retirement. The workers aged between 50 and 59 numbered 3.5 million in March, up 7.6 percent from a year before, the National Statistical Office (NSO) reported on May 5.

The bracket accounted for 15.5 percent of the total workforce, up from 14.6 percent a year earlier, the NSO said. As many as 22.57 million people out of the total population of 48 million had jobs. The figure has shown a steady upward movement over the past few years since the 1997-1998 Asian currency crisis with more being forced to work due to their deteriorating financial situations.

"With a rising life expectancy, more older people are forced to continue working as it is increasingly more difficult for their savings and pension to sustain them," an NSO official said. The official added that the majority of older workers are usually engaged in low-paying jobs in the service sector, unable to significantly improve their financial situation.

"Competition for the limited number of jobs will likely intensify in the coming months as more older people are expected to try to enter the job market," he said. The overall job market has remained weak over the years, as the sluggish domestic economy has not been able to generate enough jobs, particularly for younger people.

Those aged between 15 and 19 holding jobs increased by mere 0.6 percent during the one-year period, while the number of people in their 20s declined 1.7 percent as a growing number of local companies have been reluctant to hire new workers amid the prolonged business slowdown.

The overall jobless rate stood at 3.9 percent in March with the number of unemployed reaching 907,000, according to the NSO.

The youth employment rate, or for those aged 15 to 29, came to 8.5 percent with 425,000 youths without jobs.

 

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