Some 147,000 people have been jobless for six months or longer last year, the highest since recordkeeping began in 2000, latest figures from Statistics Korea showed Tuesday.
Last year's number marks a 10.5-percent increase from 133,000 tallied in 2016. It accounts for 14.3 percent of the total number of jobless people, also the highest since 14.1 percent reached in 2000.
The figure compares to 80,000 in 2009 when the country was reeling from the global financial crisis, and to 138,000 in 2000 during the foreign exchange debacle that led to an emergency rescue by the International Monetary Fund.
Job hunters wait for mock interview sessions at a job fair (Yonhap)
Statistics showed that the number of so-called long-term unemployed, who have been unsuccessful in finding jobs for half a year or more, has been growing among the total jobless population. The proportion nearly doubled over a recent three-year span, from 7.5 percent in 2014 to 10 percent in 2015 and 13.1 percent in 2016. Before then, it had dropped to 7 percent in 2010.
Economists say a number of factors are at play, such as a protracted slump in the job market and lack of good-quality employment that job seekers are striving for. (Yonhap)