Lee looks for new services jobs

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Lee looks for new services jobs


Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol attends a meeting with executives of economic institutes and multinational financial companies on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

Creating new jobs should be given priority to improve persistently low domestic consumption, said Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol on Wednesday.

“To shore up the domestic economy, particularly shrinking domestic consumption, boosting income growth through job creation is the most proper and fundamental solution,” said Lee during a meeting with the executives of economic research institutes and multinational financial services companies.

The governor noted that the services sector should take the lead in job creation given Korea’s evolving economic structure.

“The services sector has experienced higher employment growth than manufacturing since 2000,” Lee said, “The services sector is destined to drive job creation instead of the manufacturing industry.”

Different regulations on operational hours and entry barriers should also be lifted for the future growth of the services sector, the governor noted.

The head of the country’s central bank described current economic conditions as “rough” but maintained the economy is on path to moderate growth, helped by upbeat exports.

“Despite the unfavorable economic conditions at home and abroad, the country is on track for growth, if gradual,” he said.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced Saturday that exports in March rose 13.7 percent year on year to $48.9 billion, positive results for the fifth consecutive month starting in November after falling for two consecutive years.

Still, retail sales fell 2.2 percent in February, the latest data, compared to the previous month.

Among the participants in the meeting was Kwon Goo-hoon, a managing director of Goldman Sachs. He noted that foreign investors pay attention to the impact that protectionism from the United States and geopolitical risks will have on the Korean economy.

“Foreign investors are concerned about protectionism and geopolitical risks,” he said.

“They also keep track of how good exports will be related to domestic consumption and how long they will last.”

Besides the macroeconomic issue, the governor discussed the so-called fourth industrial revolution.

Other participants included Park Jong-gyu, researcher at the Korea Institute of Finance, Lim Ji-won, an economist at JPMorgan, and Kim Se-jik, an economics professor at Seoul National University.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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