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Young households suffer income decrease in 2015

All Headlines 10:32 March 08, 2016

SEJONG, March 8 (Yonhap) -- Households headed by those in their 20s and 30s in South Korea saw their income decline for the first time last year amid a toughened job market, government data showed Tuesday.

Households led by those under 39 years of age with family members of two or more earned a monthly average of 4.32 million won (US$3,600) in 2015, down 0.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

It is the first time that the monthly average income for households led by those in their 20s and 30s posted negative on-year growth since 2003 when the state-run statistics agency started to compile such data.

The growth pace of young family income has been on a sharp decline since 2014 when it slowed to 0.7 percent from 7.4 percent in 2013.

At the same time, they also reduced spending last year for the first time since 2003, with their monthly expenditures slipping 0.9 percent on-year to 3.36 million won.

In contrast, families led by those in their 40s saw their average income rise 2.8 percent on-year to 4.96 million won, while households led by people in their 50s logged a 2 percent rise in their average income at 5.05 million won.

The average income of families headed by people aged 60 and older jumped 6.8 percent on-year to 3 million, marking the highest on-year growth among the all age groups.

Experts noted that rising youth unemployment in South Korea was the main reason for the decline in income and spending of young families and the widening income gap between the younger and older generations.

According to separate data, the jobless rate for those between 15 and 29 jumped to a record high of 9.2 percent last year as labor market conditions for younger people remained tougher in the midst of an economic slump.

Also, rising forms of temporary work including internships and short-term contracts left young workers in unstable situations.

"The high youth jobless rate is the largest cause for a drop in incomes and expenditures of young households," said professor Baek Ehung-gi of Sangmyung University.

brk@yna.co.kr
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