S. Korea achieves national goal of over $30,000 in average income

05, Mar. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - South Korea has finally accomplished the long-standing goal of more than $30,000 in average income, but there was no fanfare to celebrate its wonderful achievement mainly due to sluggish activities especially in the stagnant construction sector.

South Korea's per capita gross national income (GNI), which measures average income earned per person, rose from $29,745 in 2017 to $31,349 in 2018, according to data published by the Bank of Korea on Monday. Per capita income is often used to measure a country's standard of living and compare wealth between sovereign territories.

The $30,000 mark has been a national goal sought by policymakers since South Korea's per capita GNI reached $20,795 in 2006.

In 2018, South Korea's gross domestic product grew 2.7 percent, the slowest on-year gain since 2012. Construction investment registered a four percent drop, marking the sharpest contraction since 1998 when it fell 13.3 percent due to the Asian financial crisis.

Output in the construction sector suffered a 4.2 percent setback in 2018, marking the first negative growth since 2012. The manufacturing industry grew 3.6 percent while services rose 2.8 percent.