By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) — In the second quarter of 2023, South Korea saw a 3.2% increase in consumer prices across the country, driven by higher utility and dining costs, according to Statistics Korea.
In particular, the Seoul region saw a 3.8% jump in consumer prices, while Busan experienced a 3.3% hike. The island of Jeju had the smallest growth rate of 2.4%, with Sejong at 2.6%. The agency pointed to the 24.3% rise in utility costs and 7% increase in dining out expenses as the main causes.
On the other hand, the mining and manufacturing output nationwide dropped 7.4%, with Gyeonggi Province seeing the largest decline of 16.2%. Busan’s output fell 8.5%. This decrease was mainly due to the sluggish performance of the semiconductor, electric component and chemical industries.
Retail sales in the second quarter of 2023 rose 2.8% nationwide, mainly because of the financial, insurance, transportation, and logistics sectors. Incheon had the highest growth rate of 7.6%, followed by Seoul’s 6.6%.
The employment-to-population ratio was 63.2% nationwide, a 0.5% increase from the previous quarter. Gyeonggi Province’s rate decreased by 0.4%, while Gangwon Province’s rate increased by 2.2%.
A woman shops for groceries at a supermarket in Seoul on Aug. 20, 2023. (Yonhap)