President Moon Jae-in pledged all-out efforts to create new jobs Thursday, vowing to further accelerate deregulation and increase government support for local companies that create more jobs.
"The government placed top priority on job-related policies as it was inaugurated under the difficult condition of the so-called employment cliff," the president said in a meeting of the presidential commission on job creation.
"As a result, the quality of employment is improving while the income level of workers is rising, with the number of employment insurance subscribers also growing. However, we still have not succeeded in increasing the number of jobs," he added.
The president's remarks come amid a gloomy outlook for the local job market.
In July, the country added only 5,000 new jobs from a year earlier, a sharp drop from more than 100,000 jobs added the previous month.
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon has said the country may have lost jobs in September.
"To overcome such conditions, (the government) will focus on revitalizing the economy to promote investment by local companies and create more jobs," President Moon told the meeting held in Cheongju, South Chungcheong Province.
The commission meeting followed a ceremony marking the construction of a new production facility of SK hynix, the world's third-largest chipmaker, in the city located 140 kilometers south of Seoul.
Moon said the government has already come up with 140 new projects together with local companies to create new growth engines in five major sectors, including the semiconductor, smart appliances, energy and bio-health industries, under which the companies will invest up to 125 trillion won to create more than 90,000 new jobs.
The president urged full government support for such projects.
"The government should be a supporter that helps remove difficulties (facing the companies) and promote corporate development. It must swiftly process the necessary procedures and actively support the construction of new necessary infrastructure," he told the meeting.
The president also renewed his call for efforts to remove excessive, unnecessary government regulations.
"I once again stress the importance of regulation reform to foster new industries," Moon said.
While attending the SK hynix ceremony earlier, the president also promised industry-specific government support.
President Moon Jae-in speaks in a ceremony held in Cheongju, South Chungcheong Province on Oct. 4, 2018 to mark the construction of a new production facility of South Korean chipmaker SK hynix. (Yonhap)President Moon Jae-in speaks in a ceremony held in Cheongju, South Chungcheong Province on Oct. 4, 2018 to mark the construction of a new production facility of South Korean chipmaker SK hynix. (Yonhap)
"The semiconductor industry is the South Korean economy's engine. It posted record sales by exporting US$61.2 billion in the first half alone," Moon said.
"However, we are being closely chased by competitor nations, such as China and the United States. Now is time to further accelerate our innovation efforts by gathering our strength and wisdom to maintain our global leadership in the semiconductor market," he added.
The president promised full support to this end.
"I welcome SK hynix's investment plans, and the government too will help to make sure company investments can be made at the right moment," he said, also promising to increase government support for research and development projects.
"The government and I will not hold back our support for companies that invest, make jobs and contribute to the local economy by co-existing with small and medium-sized firms," he said. (Yonhap News)