By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak called Thursday for institutional measures to help the younger generation set up their own businesses, saying it is important not only in reducing the youth jobless rate but also in preparing for the country's future.
"I was told that 80 percent of people who start new businesses (these days) are in their 50s," Lee said in a weekly emergency economic policy meeting. "Young people seem to be evading risky challenges." This week's session was focused on ways to cut the youth unemployment rate, a persistent problem in South Korea as young people face a tougher time finding jobs than other age groups.
The latest job data showed that South Korea's unemployment rate among people aged 15-29 stood at 8.5 percent last month compared with its headline jobless rate of 3.7 percent.
Lee pointed out that young people, short on capital, tend to fear credit delinquency in case their businesses fail.
He instructed the head of the Financial Services Commission to seek ways to give them a second chance.
"We are trying to create jobs for the youth. The start of (their) enterprises is important in various aspects including the future of the country," he said.
In the early 2000s, a number of people in their 20s and 30s set up their own businesses mostly in the information and technology (IT) sector. Since the burst of the so-called IT bubble several years ago, however, younger people are increasingly shunning entrepreneurship in favor of stable jobs.