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Instead of spurring growth, Moon's wage hikes trigger layoffs

South Korean president's J-nomics has little to show after one year

A job board at an employment office in Seoul. Unemployment in South Korea rose to 4% in May.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's signature economic policy is starting to backfire a year into his term, with unemployment increasing despite his push to create new jobs and the income gap widening even more.

South Korea gained just 72,000 new jobs in May, compared with the 379,000 added a year earlier, the government said Friday. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up 0.4 point over the 12 months to 4% overall. The figure was even worse among those 15 to 29 years old, climbing 1.3 points to 10.5%.

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