Income Gap Widens as Inflation Devours Workers' Real Wages

      May 26, 2023 10:53

      The income gap has widened dramatically as top earners' income grew almost twice as fast as low-income earners' and inflation eroded their paltry gains.
      According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the average monthly earnings of people in the top 20 percent of the income bracket rose six percent on-year in the first quarter of the year to W11.48 million, but the earnings of people in the bottom 20 percent grew only 3.2 percent to W1.08 million (US$1=W1,326).
      Incomes in the second 20 percent from the bottom increased 2.2 percent and in the middle bracket 2.5 percent. But in the second quintile from the top incomes grew 5.3 percent.
      That means only the top earnings brackets managed to beat inflation, which stood at around five percent during the quarter, while everyone else's real income shrank.
      People shop for groceries in a superstore in Seoul on Thursday. /News1
      Overall, the average monthly income of all households remained flat.
      In the third and fourth quarters of last year, real income declined 2.8 percent and 1.1 percent.
      But expenditures increased considerably due to high inflation, resulting in bigger deficits for low-income families. Those in the bottom 20 percent suffered a deficit of W461,000.
      Jung Won at the Ministry of Economy and Finance said, "The household income gap widened due to a decline in temporary jobs and manual jobs."   
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