South Korea’s ‘Jobs President’ Faces Policy Roll-Back Over Employment Uproar

One America News Network | 1/27/2016 | Staff
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SEOUL (Reuters) – Kim Hyun-ji voted for Moon Jae-in to be South Korea’s president last year thinking things would improve with his promises to create jobs and address inequality. She now says that was a mistake.

“Since Moon came in, it has become so much more expensive to hire part-timers,” said the 32 year-old owner of a clothing store in Itaewon, Seoul’s prime party district.

Shop - Husband - Job - Year - Wages

“I’ve been single-handedly running the shop after my husband found another job last year, and it’s been really rough. But knowing that wages would only go up, I’m not bothering to look for anyone,” Kim said.

Just two months ago, Moon’s popularity was sky-high as the public lauded the left-leaning former human rights lawyer’s diplomatic progress with North Korea.

Approval - Ratings - Percentage - Points - Election

But his approval ratings since then have plunged by nearly 30 percentage points to the lowest since his election in May 2017. Many blame his controversial plans to sharply raise minimum wages and cut working hours for contributing to the worst job market since the 2008-2010 financial crisis.

With job losses hitting his main support base particularly hard, Moon may have little choice to roll back, or at least soft-pedal, some of his ambitious “income-led growth” policies that centered on higher minimum wages, officials, economists and political analysts say.

Failure - Uproar - Jobs - Moon - Capital

Failure to address the public uproar over jobs could also cost Moon political capital to pursue his other signature initiative – closer ties with North Korea – because a poorer public will be less supportive of using taxpayer money to fund cooperation with Pyongyang.

“The main determination that the public make about Moon is now less about North Korea, but more about whether he can create jobs and fatten people’s pay,” said Lee Sang-jae, an economist at Eugene Investment & Securities.

Moon - Budget - Wage - Floor

“Moon could first draft another extra budget, slow down on taking wage floor higher,...
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