December 27, 2023
SEOUL – The number of 40-somethings with employment as surveyed in the month of November dropped to the lowest point since 2003, data showed Tuesday.
According to Statistics Korea, 6.25 million people in their 40s in Korea were employed, down 62,000 from the same month last year. The figure has been on a downward trend after peaking at 6.94 million in 2014.
The drop in working South Koreans in their 40s is in direct correlation with the decrease in the general population in the age group. South Koreans in their 40s marked a monthly decrease of 139,000 to mark 7.91 million in November 2023.
South Koreans in their 40s, from January to November of this year, marked a yearly decrease of 120,000. The dip was the second steepest out of all age groups, after the 15-29 group’s decline of 178,000.
The number of people in their 30s dropped by 76,000.
Older South Koreans, however, increased with the number of individuals in their 50s climbing by 9,000, while the number of those aged 60 or older surged by 509,000 compared to the year before.
Between the rapidly aging population and a faltering fertility rate, a Statistics Korea report has predicted that 47.7 percent of the country will be 65 or older by 2072, with the population overall being cut to 70 percent of what it is now.
While the total number of working 40-somethings has been on the decline, the employment rate for the age group rose slightly, by 0.6 percent, compared to the same month in 2022. The figure has increased every month since April 2021, as evidence that the decline in the number of 40-somethings in employment is due to population drop.
Other reports have also indicated that the working population in their 40s has taken a hit.
There were 15.28 million South Koreans with labor insurance as of November, the Ministry of Employment and Labor said earlier this month, marking 2.2 percent growth from the same month the year before. But the number of 40-somethings with labor insurance dropped slightly by 2,000 from the same month in 2022, marking the first time the figure dropped since 1998, when the government started tracking related statistics.
This report also showed that in contrast to the dwindling number of job insurance subscribers in their 40s and 20s, the figures for those in their 50s and 60s marked a yearly increase by 111,000 and 184,000, respectively.