The National Personnel Authority said Wednesday a record 49.2 percent of candidates who passed the “category 2” senior civil service exam for fiscal 2000 are jobless graduates.

The percentage — up from last year’s 46.1 percent — reflects an increase in the number of graduates affected by the lingering job crunch, analysts said.

Category 2 state government employees are to work as executives at local offices of the central government, while successful candidates of the elite category 1 exam are to be posted in Tokyo.

A record-low 33 percent of the successful applicants are university graduates, the authority said, beating last year’s record low of 37.1 percent.

A total 6,123 candidates passed the exam, with roughly one out of every 12 making the grade.

The government plans to hire about 3,100 of the successful candidates in April, as about half of them are expected to decline offers and opt for postings at local governments.

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