No. of Jobless Women Hits Decade High
By Yoon Ja-young
Due to the economic recession, female workers here are faced with their worst job market conditions in a decade.
According to Statistics Korea, the number of unemployed women reached 495,000 in January, up 214,000, or 76.2 percent, from a year ago.
This is significantly lower than that of jobless men, who increased in number by 154,000 to 721,000, marking a 27.2 percent rise.
The number of the jobless women reached its highest level since July 1999 when it stood at 502,000.
The number of working women, meanwhile, decreased by 86,000 to 9.4 million in January, while the number of males with jobs increased by 91,000. In 2009, 103,000 jobs disappeared for women while men saw their number of employment opportunities grow by 31,000.
Women were hit harder in the job market as most are working in sectors hampered by the recession. The restaurant and hotel businesses, for example, saw jobs decrease by 107,000 last year, among which 103,000 were jobs usually filled by females.
Other sectors are also laying off females first. The number of jobs in the manufacturing sector, for instance, decreased by 126,000 last year. Of those laid off, 110,000 were females.
The government, meanwhile, is pondering ways to increase the number of jobs for women. Possible measures include increasing the number of part time jobs and promoting working from home.
It plans to raise the economic participation rate of females to 60 percent by 2014.
The unemployment rate of the country surged to 5 percent in January, upon a decreasing number of jobs offered by the government to the underprivileged.
The number of people who were offered such jobs totaled 250,000 last year, but the government cut the figure to 100,000 this year amid worsening fiscal health.
The government hopes that the private sector will make up for the loss of jobs, but businesses aren't likely to increase their number of positions drastically in the wake of the global financial crisis.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the number of the unemployed totaled 211.5 million worldwide in 2009, up 26.6 million from the previous year.
The global jobless rate was 6.6 percent, rising 0.8 percent. The rate for women was 7 percent.