Income of bottom 20% Korean families extend losses for 5th straight quarter

2019.05.23 15:34:40

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The monthly average income of Korean families at the bottom 20 percent bracket deteriorated for the fifth consecutive quarter in the January-March period this year amid worsening job conditions for low-skilled and precarious workers.

According to data released by Statistics Korea on Thursday, the average monthly nominal income of households in the bottom 20 percent bracket dropped 2.5 percent on year to 1.255 million won ($1,054) in the first quarter ended March.

The decline largely owed to the significant fall in labor income that plunged 14.5 percent amid loss of jobs and worsened self-employed businesses. Meanwhile, the transfer income added 5.6 percent, suggesting the poor had to rely more on social benefits and handouts.

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The income gap between the top and bottom quintiles slightly eased to 5.8 times from 5.95 times a year ago as the average nominal income of the top 20 percent group slipped 2.2 percent on year to 9.925 million won for the first time since the final quarter of 2015 amid widening economic slowdown.

Labor earnings of the top 20-percent cadre slipped 3.1 percent to 7.411 million won during the period.

Meanwhile, average nominal income of all households added 1.3 percent to 4.826 million won in the first quarter, slowing from a 3.7 percent jump a year earlier. Average nominal disposable income fell 0.5 percent on year to 3.748 million won, the first decline since the third quarter of 2009. Earned income was up 0.5 percent, while business income was off 1.4 percent.

By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Ha-yeon

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