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Korean economy takes off despite global financial crisis

Korea has become a new role model among G20 countries for its successful navigation of the global financial crisis, turning a troubled world economy into an opportunity for growth.

The G20 is one of the world’s most important organizations, composed of G7 member nations, the EU chair and 12 newly emerging economies.

It accounts for two thirds of the world’s total population, 90 percent of the world’s total GDP and 80 percent of the world’s trade volume.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Korea recorded a growth rate of 6.2 percent in 2010, ranking the sixth among the G20 countries.

Busan Port filled with export containers. Korea's export-centered policy led the country's economic recovery.

Korea’s economic growth rate changed dramatically after the global financial crisis in 2008. In 2007, the country recorded growth rates of 5.1 percent, ranking the eighth among the G20. In 2008, the rate dropped to 2.3 percent, ranking tenth among G20 nations.

In 2009, however, continued to show positive growth as many other countries experienced negative levels of economic growth, and ranked the seventh among the G20, despite the global financial crisis.

Last year, Korea’s per capita GDP was $20,590, ninth among G20 member nations, bringing the Korean GDP back to the pre-crisis level.

* Employment rate on the rise

Korea’s employment rate slowed in 2008 and 2009 but the private sector has lead a modest job recovery trend. 

People gather at a job fair in March 2011

Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk JaewanThe government’s job creation policy and efforts to improve the general employment market have also had a positive impact.

According to  Statistics Korea’s report this year, the number of employed people exceeded 24 million in May 2011, an increase of 350,000 jobs compared to the same period last year.

Korea’s unemployment rate of 3.2 percent is the lowest since November last year. Youth unemployment is also at its lowest level of the past six months at 7.3 percent.

* Gov’t to focus on stabilizing commodity prices, creating jobs

In a June 16 interview with the Weekly Gonggam, published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk Jaewan explained the Korean government’s policy to focus on price stability and job creation.

Mentioning the ongoing recovery phase in employment and the overall Korean economy, Minister Bahk said the government will put priority on stabilizing prices and creating jobs while carrying out long-term economic growth policies that take into consideration price hikes and increasing economic uncertainty in major partners like Europe and the United States.

Since prices and jobs are directly related to people’s livelihoods, Minister Bahk said the government will put stress on price stablization along with creating conditions that will encourage employers to offer more job opportunities.

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer
Article adapted from the Weekly Gonggam Magazine


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