Gov’t spent 70% of 2018 budget in first 7 months

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Gov’t spent 70% of 2018 budget in first 7 months

Korea has spent about 70 percent of its state budget earmarked for 2018 in the first seven months as it moves to create more jobs, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

Some 195 trillion won ($175 billion) was spent through July, 11.4 trillion won, or 4 percentage points, more than the expected outlay of 184 trillion won, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The ministry said earlier that it plans to frontload its budget spending to minimize any fallout from the move to raise the minimum wage and to boost job creation.

The government increased the minimum wage by 16.4 percent to 7,530 won as of Jan. 1 this year, the biggest jump in about two decades. The government earmarked 3 trillion won to reduce the burden on smaller businesses that mostly hire part-time workers.

Earlier, the ministry said it would also increase its budget spending at a faster pace to better cope with a series of chronic problems, such as the low birthrate and low economic participation by women. The ministry said some 25.3 trillion won was spent for the social infrastructure projects in the January-July period, 1.7 percentage points higher than the originally planned.

Some 2.9 trillion won, or 76.7 percent, of the 3.78 trillion-won extra budget was also implemented. The supplementary budget, formed in June, was aimed at boosting job creation.

But despite concerted efforts to bolster employment, recent jobs data has been disappointing, as job creation in July was the lowest recorded since January 2010.

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