Moon’s approval rating dips below 50 pct

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating dropped below 50 percent this week for the first time since his inauguration last year, a poll showed Friday.

Moon's approval rating came to 49 percent, down 4 percentage points from a week earlier, in a survey conducted by Gallup Korea. It is the lowest since he took office in May 2017.

The number of those who disapproved of the way the president has managed state affairs gained 4 percentage points to 42 percent.

The drop in Moon's approval rating comes amid growing concerns over worsening job conditions, following a steep increase in the minimum wage.

The country hiked its minimum wage 16.4 percent to 7,530 won (US$6.70) per hour at the start of the year, and it is again set to jump 10.9 percent to 8,350 won from the start of next year.

Such an increase is apparently in line with Moon's income-led growth strategy, which is based on the notion that increased income will lead to increased spending that in turn will help boost the local economy.

The result, however, appears to be the opposite, at least for now.

In July, the country added only 5,000 new jobs from a year earlier, compared with more than 100,000 new jobs added to the local job market in the previous month, possibly indicating that local companies may be cutting back on jobs to offset increased costs.

Moon has refused to revise his growth strategy, insisting the minimum wage is only a small part of an economic policy that is aimed solely at boosting the income of those in the lowest income bracket.

His approval rating has dropped for three consecutive weeks.

The ruling Democratic Party's approval rating gained 1 percentage point to 41 percent this week following two consecutive weeks of falling numbers.

The approval rating of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party remained unchanged from a week earlier at 12 percent while that of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party gained 2 percentage points to 9 percent.

The progressive Justice Party's approval rating stayed still at 12 percent, and that of the liberal Party for Democracy and Peace came to 1 percent, also unchanged from a week before.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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