SEJONG, March 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's jobless rate for 2012 could rise to 5.8 percent if "underemployed" people and other at-risk populations were counted, a report showed Friday, showing a large gap with the government's official figures.
According to the report compiled by the Woori Finance Research Institute, the country's effective jobless rate could rise sharply if counting such people deemed to face almost the same tough working conditions as those technically remaining out of work.
The rate is much higher than the government's official jobless rate of 3.2 percent in which the number of unemployed people stood at about 820,000.
The report, however, said that it could be much higher if people staying in the so-called "gray area" of the labor market are counted.
It said that the number of underemployed people, who work less than 36 hours a week but want to work longer, totaled 349,000 as of end-December. The number of people who remain out of work for studying to land a better job or gave up finding work altogether also came to 712,000.
The two groups are not counted as unemployed in the government jobless rate.
If underemployed people are included, the jobless rate could rise to 4.6 percent. If the two groups are counted, the rate could rise to as high as 5.8 percent, the report said.
The report comes as many claim that the government's jobless rate does not accurately reflect the reality facing many job seekers here.
Experts say that the two cited groups should be counted as unemployed given that they are forced to choose part-time jobs and suspend or quit looking for jobs due to tough labor market conditions.
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