SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — South Korea’s earned and business incomes grew in the second quarter despite the fall in gross income, caused by the lower transfer income from the government, statistical office data showed Thursday.
The monthly average income for households with at least one family member, which include farming families, stood at 4,287,000 won (3,640 U.S. dollars) during the April-June quarter, down 0.7 percent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.
It was the first reduction in four years since the second quarter of 2017, marking the fastest decline since the fourth quarter of 2016.
Earned and business incomes increased amid the economic recovery, but the combined income shrank on the back of the lower transfer income.
Transfer income tumbled 28.6 percent over the year to 617,000 won (520 U.S. dollars) in the second quarter, logging the highest fall since data began to be compiled in 2006.
The public transfer income dropped 37.1 percent to 421,000 won (360 U.S. dollars). During the same quarter of last year, the public transfer income more than doubled as the government provided relief checks for all households to tackle the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earned income went up 6.5 percent to 2,743,000 won (2,330 U.S. dollars) in the second quarter, posting the highest expansion in almost nine years since the third quarter of 2012.
Business income grew 3.6 percent to 806,000 won (690 U.S. dollars) as the economy recovered from the pandemic shock amid the eased social-distancing rules during the April-June quarter.
The earned income among households in the lowest 20-percent income bracket soared 19.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, and the business income for the bottom 20-percent bracket jumped 16.1 percent.
For the top 20-percent income group, the earned and business incomes gained 4.8 percent and 1.3 percent each.
Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki said the earned and business incomes increased amid the alleviated social-distancing guideline, the improved labor market conditions and the rebound in private consumption.
Hong, however, noted that difficulties resurfaced among people working in the pandemic-hit sectors as the country was faced with the fourth wave of COVID-19 outbreaks since early July.
In the latest tally, South Korea reported 2,152 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 230,808. The daily caseload hovered above 1,000 for 44 straight days.
The government planned to keep in place its toughest social-distancing guideline for six weeks until Aug. 22 in the Seoul metropolitan area, and it was widely forecast to extend the rules amid the continued resurgence.
Meanwhile, private consumption advanced in the April-June quarter amid the economic turnaround.
The monthly average expenditure among households amounted to 2,475,000 won (2,100 U.S. dollars) in the second quarter, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier. It was the highest growth since the first quarter of 2012.
Consumer spending in the eatery and lodging and the leisure and culture sectors rose 3.3 percent and 4.1 percent in the second quarter, after sliding in the first quarter.
Non-consumption expenditure, including taxes and social insurance premium, increased 4.6 percent to 833,000 won (710 U.S. dollars) in the second quarter.
The monthly average disposable income, or the gross income minus non-consumption expenditure, shed 1.9 percent to 3,454,000 won (2,940 U.S. dollars) due to the increased non-consumption expenditure.
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