South Korean president’s approval ratings dip after raising minimum wage

by WorldTribune Staff, September 10, 2018

Since announcing an increase in the nation’s minimum wage, South Korean President Moon Jae-In has seen a steady drop in his approval ratings, which last week sunk below 50 percent for the first time since his inauguration.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In. / Getty

Moon’s approval rating is 49 percent according to a poll by Gallup Korea published on Sept. 7. The liberal president’s rating, down 4 percentage points from a week earlier, is at its lowest point since he took office in May 2017.

The number of those who disapproved of the way Moon has managed state affairs gained 4 percentage points to 42 percent, the poll found.

South Korea’s minimum wage was increased by 16.4 percent to 7,530 won ($6.70) per hour at the start of the year, and it is again set to jump 10.9 percent to 8,350 won from the start of next year, Yonhap reported.

The minimum wage increase is “in line with Moon’s income-led growth strategy, which is based on the notion that increased income will lead to increased spending that in turn will help boost the local economy,” The Korea Times noted in a Sept. 7 report.

The result, however, appears to be the opposite.

In July, South Korea added only 5,000 new jobs from a year earlier, possibly indicating that local companies may be cutting back on jobs to offset increased costs, the Korea Times report said.

“Moon has refused to revise his growth strategy, insisting the minimum wage is only a small part of an economic policy that is aimed solely at boosting the income of those in the lowest income bracket,” the report said.

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