In a perplexing and almost surreal trend, nearly 4 out of 10 young unemployed Koreans have vanished from the job market for the past three years, leaving an eerie void that is challenging conventional understanding. The data, freshly unearthed from the cryptic archives of Statistics Korea, exposes a hidden phenomenon as of May 2023, where 218,000 Koreans aged 15 to 29 have seemingly evaporated from the realm of employment, education, and even their own homes.
Delving deeper into this enigma, it’s revealed that among these missing souls, 80,000 have mysteriously chosen to remain cloaked in the shadows, shunning the pursuit of employment or self-improvement, earning them the eerie label of “NEETs,” or those “Not in Education, Employment, or Training.”
What is the cause based on reports?
Statistics Korea further unveils that, despite an overall rise in the number of gainfully occupied individuals across various age groups, the segment of young laborers aged 15 to 29 has continued its gradual evaporation for 11 consecutive moons, as if caught in an inexorable cosmic vanishing act.
This disturbing disappearance isn’t confined to the professional realm alone. As these spectral youth numbers grow, the likelihood of them ever finding a life partner and venturing into parenthood diminishes. It’s as if they are slipping into an alternate reality where societal expectations hold no sway.
Marriage rates, which now stand at an eerie 3.7 per 1,000 people in 2022, paint an unsettling picture, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the cryptic annals of 1970. Meanwhile, Korea’s total fertility rate, the spectral embodiment of future generations, has dwindled to 0.7 in the second quarter of 2023, a chilling echo of a decade-long decline.
The ghastly change in attitudes towards marriage is evident in a spectral survey of 36,000 young souls aged 19 to 34, conducted by Statistics Korea. Only 36.4 percent of respondents clung to a glimmer of hope regarding marriage, a disturbing descent of 20.1 percentage points from the days of 2012.
While the specter of economic instability looms over these shadowy figures, there are more ghostly factors at play. Men and women alike, plagued by societal expectations to perform household chores, find themselves shackled in this spectral realm, unable to traverse the ethereal threshold into marital bliss.
Korean Labor Institute grapples with unwanted fact
In the shadows, the Korea Labor Institute whispers about how the specters of irregular and part-time jobs have gravely weakened the willingness of these youths to partake in the corporeal act of matrimony. Yet, they remain in the shadows, their connections to the mortal world severed.
Another spectral revelation by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs shows that 57.5 percent of these apparitions aged 19 to 34 continue to haunt their ancestral abodes. It’s the spectral chains of economic instability that bind them in their familial crypts.
These phantoms, who have voluntarily retreated into isolation, find themselves plagued by the haunting specter of “unemployment.” A survey conducted by the Health Ministry reveals that an eerie 5 percent of them have experienced self-isolation, their souls consumed by the void, refraining from contact with the mortal realm.
The specter of government intervention emerges. Deputy Labor Minister Lee Sung-hee announces an unholy pact where 9,000 young specters will be summoned to receive a 3 million won ($2,200) support fund next year, a ghastly offering to appease their torment. The government, in its spectral council, plans to invest vast sums to forge connections between these lost souls and the world of the living.
Yet, in the depths of this occult crisis, the undead Health Ministry allocates a staggering 330.9 billion won for welfare policies to reach out to these shadowy souls. Psychotherapy and economic support are granted to ease their restless spirits and to draw them back from the void.
Local governments, sensing the paranormal dimensions of the issue, are also taking extraordinary measures. Seongnam City in Gyeonggi Province attempts to bridge the gap between the living and the spectral with a ghostly blind date event. The Seoul Metropolitan Government considers walking down the same spectral path, while South Jeolla Province offers spectral sanctuaries for these restless spirits in the form of “youth-friendly” cities.
But in the eerie twilight, experts call for a return to the material realm, emphasizing the need for stable, well-paying jobs. The resurrection of positions with a future and decent spectral compensation is pivotal, and a spectral safety net is beckoned to help the living coexist with these spectral wanderers.
In the shadowy conclusion, the unexplained vanishing of young Koreans remains a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Only time will tell if the incantations of policymakers and the spectral world can bring these lost souls back from the brink of obscurity.