South Korea's chief economic policy maker on Monday sought cooperation from smaller firms to create quality jobs to reduce the country's high youth unemployment rate.
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon made the remark during a meeting with executives of small and medium-sized enterprises held in Seoul.
"We hope the planned support for SMEs will lead to job creation beyond the current level of employment," Kim said, referring to the government's proposed extra budget.
Early this month, the government unveiled a set of measures, including the use of a 3.9 trillion-won extra budget, to tackle the jobless rate among young people.
President Moon Jae-in has called for an all-out effort to create new quality jobs for young people and said the country's high youth jobless rate is a national disaster.
As of the end of December, the unemployment rate for people between 15 and 29 years of age came to 9.2 percent, nearly three times higher than the national jobless rate of 3.3 percent.
The government hopes that with the pledged support, the nation's youth unemployment will be reduced to below 8 percent by 2021 and up to 220,000 new jobs will be added through 2021.
"We hope SMEs put effort into improving competitiveness and productivity, and carry out reforms in line with the government goals," he said.
Park Sung-taek, head of the Korea Federation of SMEs, said he hopes the extra budget will be approved promptly, and he asked the government to also come up with long-term plans to resolve the wage gap between SMEs and conglomerates.(Yonhap)