President Park Geun-hye said Wednesday that job creation is a key priority of her government in the latest sign of challenges facing South Korea.
Park has been struggling to create more jobs for people, especially young people, though her efforts have not paid off.
The jobless rate among people between ages 15 and 29 reached a record high of 9.2 percent in 2015, the highest reading since 1999 and much higher than the 3.6 percent average for the country as a whole.
Park said the government should strengthen its focus on job creation. "Purposes of all (policies) should be job" creation, Park said in a meeting with officials and advisers on the economy, calling job creation "the biggest task of our society."
Park also lightly hit the table with her hand several times during the meeting in an apparent sign of frustration over the parliament's failure to pass a set of bills which she said would help reform South Korea's labor markets and revitalize the economy.
Park said it is deplorable that the National Assembly has failed to pass a bill that could help create jobs. During the meeting, she also sighed and paused for about 10 seconds.
In December, the government announced draft guidelines to allow companies to formally sack underperforming employees and amend employment rules more easily even without the consent of workers.
Under current labor laws, companies can terminate employee contracts only when they are either involved in a corruption or an embezzlement case, or when the firm has to lay off workers due to serious financial difficulties.