Anchor: New jobs figures released Wednesday show a bleak situation. Unemployment reached its highest point last month since the Asian financial crisis nearly 20 years ago.
Our Park Jong-hong has this report.
Report: The latest figures show South Korea's jobless rate rose slightly in August to four percent due to a fall in employment in the retail and manufacturing sectors.
Young adults aged 15 to 29 who were out of a job last month stood at ten percent, up six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous year and the highest since 1999.
The number of employed went up by a mere three-thousand compared to August last year to 26-point-nine million.
This increase in jobs last month is the smallest since January 2010, when ten-thousand jobs were cut.
For the second month in a row, the number of newly added jobs has stayed below ten-thousand per month.
An official at Statistics Korea, which compiled the report, said one main reason behind the dismal figures is the struggling business at automakers and shipbuilders which is spilling over to related sectors like retail.
A case in point is mass layoffs.
The manufacturing sector shed 105-thousand jobs, marking a decline for the fifth straight month. The retail segment also slashed 123-thousand jobs in August compared with a year earlier.
In response to the latest figures, South Korea's chief economic policymaker said that the government will begin discussions with the top office and the ruling Democratic Party to produce reasonable plans to adjust the pace of raising the minimum wage.
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said the government will mobilize all options. A key plan is to implement a supplementary budget for local autonomous governments amounting to 42-point-nine trillion won to create much needed jobs before the year is over.
Park Jong-hong, KBS World Radio News.