South Korean manufacturers’ confidence has again dipped to record-low levels of the 2009 global financial crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a persistent threat.
The business sentiment index among 2,400 local manufacturers came to 55 for the third quarter, the same as the first quarter of 2009 when it had hit an all-time low, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Sunday.
Compared with the previous quarter, it was down 2 points. In the April-June period, the index stood at 57, plummeting 18 points from the previous three months amid the worsening outbreak.
A reading of over 100 means more companies are optimistic about the upcoming quarter compared with the previous quarter.
Employment at major Korean businesses has also sunk to record lows, with hiring worse than in previous financial meltdowns.
According to the business survey index by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) in June, the jobs index came to 80.6, the lowest since data compiling started in 1980.
“The coronavirus has slashed jobs and sharply reduced new hires, with big companies ditching regular mass recruitments to hire on demand,” said Hong Sung-il, KERI’s economic policy team manager.
By Song Min-geun, Lim Hyung-joon and Kim Hyo-jin
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