Most white collars feel the pinch at Chuseok

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Most white collars feel the pinch at Chuseok

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Amid rising inflation and the worsening recession, seven out of 10 office workers said they feel burdened by costs related to the upcoming Chuseok harvest holiday, according to an online survey.

The job portal SaraminHR reported in its poll of 1,081 office workers that 72.2 percent of respondents expressed concern about the rising costs of the annual festival.

Of those who answered, 79.5 percent of married workers said they feel worried about how much they will spend to feed and buy gifts for their extended families, while 67.4 percent of singles concurred.

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Lotte Mart’s Seoul Station branch in central Seoul sells government stockpiles of frozen pollack, squid and mackerel at discounts of up to 50 percent yesterday, less than two weeks ahead of the Chuseok harvest festival. The products were released on the market to stabilize inflation. Around 600 grams of frozen pollack was selling for 800 won (0.72 dollar), while 480 grams of mackerel cost 2,300 won and 410 grams of squid was 1,400 won. [NEWSIS]

The estimated cost per person was tallied 359,000 won ($322) on average.

In the survey, 12 percent forecast they will spend below 100,000 won, 20.3 percent set the ceiling at 200,000 won, 20.1 percent said up to 300,000 won and 14.2 percent expected to fork out up to 400,000 won.

Office workers at foreign companies were likely to spend the most over Chuseok, or 486,000 won each on average, the survey showed. They were followed by employees at large conglomerates (428,000 won), medium-sized enterprises (391,000 won), SMEs (339,000 won) and staff public enterprises (316,000 won).

Meanwhile, married workers said they will likely spend 450,000 won, while unmarried respondents put the number at 300,000 won.

Reflecting rising inflation, 32.1 percent said they have increased their Chuseok budgets and 8.4 percent said they will scale down their spending.

In terms of how the money will be spent, 62.3 percent named “gift and pocket money for parents” as the principle burden, followed by transportation costs, food, gifts for relatives, leisure costs and gifts for senior colleagues or bosses and acquaintances.

Meanwhile, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said yesterday that 61.9 percent of the top 100 corporations by sales plan to participate in revitalizing consumption and easing the burden over the holiday period by refunding withheld income taxes and providing gift cards to staff and 140,000 subsidiaries and affiliates.

Some 52.6 percent of the 100 companies said they will provide gift sets of fruits, dried fish and daily products like toothpaste to their staff, while 48.7 percent will offer department store gift vouchers and “Onnuri gift certificates,” which can be used at traditional markets nationwide.

“The government ordered large companies to lower the withholding rate of income taxes and to offer refunds to their 140,000 companies for August to boost domestic demand,” said the KCCI. “This move is expected to ripple through the retail industry, easing the burden of office workers and promoting consumption over Chuseok.”

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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