The Korea Development Institute has assessed that the domestic economy remains subdued, mainly due to shrinking employment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a rise in both internal and external demand for durable goods.
In its monthly economic trends report for March released on Tuesday, the institute pointed out that the sales of durable goods and exports soared in the recent months.
Sales of durable goods, led by passenger cars and home appliances, rose 8.3 percent on-year in December last year, and 26.4 percent in January this year, partly buffering the general trend of lower consumption amid social distancing measures.
Exports soared 11.4 percent on-year in January, followed by a 9.5 percent growth in February, mainly on the back of semiconductor shipments.
Consumer sentiment also showed signs of recovery, with the Composite Consumer Sentiment Index standing at 97.4 in February, up by 2 points compared to the previous month.
However, the KDI stressed that the labor market continues to weaken, mainly in the service industry.
In January, the number of jobs in South Korea was down 982-thousand on-year, with more than 628-thousand jobs lost in December last year.
The service industry in particular saw massive job losses, while the manufacturing sector wasn't hit quite as hard.
Production from the service industry also remained stagnant, especially in the accommodation and food services sectors.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.