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Opposition slams gov't economic policy over poor job growth

All Headlines 15:36 September 12, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Liberty Korea Party slammed the government's handling of the economy Wednesday after data showed that jobs grew at the slowest pace in more than eight years last month.

According to Statistics Korea, the number of employed people reached 26.9 million in August, up a meager 3,000 from the same month in 2017. The increase in jobs last month is the smallest since January 2010, when 10,000 jobs were cut.

The number of newly added jobs has stayed below 10,000 per month for the second straight month.

"I am appalled that only 3,000 jobs were created, even though more than 50 trillion won (US$44.3 billion) of job budget has been injected since last year," Rep. Kim Sung-tae, the LKP's floor leader, told reporters.

"The government should scrap the 'income-led' growth policy as early as possible and work together with the National Assembly to fix problems arising from minimum wage increases and shorter working hours," he said.

"Income-led growth" is President Moon Jae-in's trademark economic policy that calls for increased income and spending by households based on higher wages. Under the policy, the government has raised minimum wages and shortened working hours, but critics argue that the measures have increased burdens on businesses.

"The number of those newly employed in August is just 3,000. Even if July and August are combined, fewer than 10,000 jobs were created. This is a serious situation," Rep. Ham Jin-gyu, LKP's chief policymaker, said.

Rep. Choo Kyung-ho, who spent decades as an economic technocrat before election to the National Assembly, called the current situation a "job disaster."

"The government is still under the illusion of income-led growth," he said. "Presidential aides are preventing the president from waking up from the delusion of income-led growth."

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