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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

(Small businesses) "Less consumption than during the IMF"

Hankyoreh tells in its editorial that the talk of economic crisis by "the conservative newspapers" is too excessive, and a "conservative paper", no doubt the one that Hankyoreh refers to, that is Chosun Ilbo, has been ringing bells for economic downturn for some time (editorial; column "You mean this is not an economic crisis?"; special section). (I see that Chosun has been using the Han'guk kyôngje wigiin'ga [Is the Korean economy in crisis] since last year...)

Picture from Chosun; images of empty marketplace corridors like this are often used to illustrate how bad the economy is, or how the economy has been polarized (lack of customers in marketplaces vs. busy department stores)

In another piece Chosun borrows hard facts from the monthly Statistical Office report on consumer services (3월 서비스업 동향), which show that many major branches are in downturn. Retail sales (소매업 매출) in general have diminished 5.6% from Jan 2003, and are on the slide for 14th month in the row. (Retail and wholesale combined [도소매] are down 0.3% from March last year.) Especially hotels (sukpak) and restaurants, and real estate have gone down, the latter by 9%.

Comparing any economic phenomena with "The IMF" is a common way of giving an impression that the times are hard (and now I'm not claiming that it'd be only an impression and not a fact), but saying that "eating and consuming less than during IMF" (IMF때보다도 안먹고 안쓴다) when the only thing comparable with the time of the crisis is the continuing slide is going not just a little too far.

The original report as downloadable files in Korean.

Let's take a bit closer look at the figures in the outlook of the report in the above link (to look at the original 20-page report would take too much time). It turns out that the overall "service activity index" (서비스업활동지수) is up 1.9% from last year.

2004년 3월 서비스업 생산활동은 폭설, 윤달 등의 영향으로 도·소매업, 숙박·음식점업, 오락관련서비스업 등에서 감소하였으나, 통신업, 운수업, 사업서비스업 등에서 증가하여 전년동월대비 1.9% 증가
□ 2004년 3월 서비스업활동지수는 전년동월대비 1.9% 증가
○ 통신업, 운수업, 사업서비스업 등은 지난 달에 이어 증가세 유지
- 통신업 : 14.6 → 13.0%
- 운수업 : 8.5 → 6.9%
- 사업서비스업 : 1.5 → 2.8%
○ 도·소매업, 숙박·음식점업, 오락·문화 및 운동관련 서비스업 등은 폭설, 윤달 등의 영향으로 감소
- 도·소매업 : 1.1 → -0.3%
- 숙박 및 음식점업 : 0.7 → -3.3%
- 교육서비스업 : 0.4 → -2.1%
- 오락·문화 및 운동관련 서비스업 : 11.4 → -6.6%
- 기타 공공·수리 및 개인서비스업 : 1.0 → -0.3%
○ 부동산 및 임대업은 지난 달에 이어 감소세 지속
- 부동산 및 임대업 : -2.3 → -9.4%
※ 한편, 전체 서비스업활동지수에서 금융·보험업과 보건·사회복지사업(의료업)지수를 제외하면 전년동월대비 0.5% 증가
□ 1/4분기로는 전년동분기대비 0.6% 증가하여 지난 해 하반기와 비슷한 증가율(3/4분기 0.6%, 4/4분기 0.4%)을 나타내었음

Update. Back to Chosun Ilbo: to show that the economical crisis is for real, the top article on the homepage is headlined "Traditional markets are all dying".
광주 양동시장 광주상회 고순자(64·홍어집)씨는 “식당 사람 다 죽어부렀어”라고 말했다. 가게를 접은 상인들이 주로 전업하던 일이 식당이었지만 식당도 안 된다는 얘기다. “홍어 팔아서 5남매 키웠는디. 자식들이 IMF 때 회사를 나와부러 우리 집에 다 들어왔당께. 큰일이여!”

대전 중앙시장 송행선(58·그릇상가)씨는 “대전 마트, 백화점도 난리란다. 대전에서 돈 있는 사람들은 서울 백화점으로 물건 사러 간단다. 고속철 타고. 서울특별시 ‘대전구’라지?”라고 말했다. 광주 대인시장은 시와 구청이 절반씩 부담해 ‘리모델링’을 진행 중이다. 시장 경비 이상만(62)씨는 “깨끗해지면 뭐혀. 사람도 없고 다 죽어가는디…”라고 말했다.

지방 시장의 불황은 지역 경제와 뗄 수 없는 관계를 맺고 있다. “구미에 가면 공단지대에 ‘부광상가’가 있어. 경기의 바로미터지. 제조업이 잘 되면 이 사람들이 돈을 막쓰니까 2~3년 전만 해도 가게를 못 구해 안달이었는데 지금 한 번 가봐.” 경북 도시를 돌면서 노점상을 하는 김태숙(45)씨는 “장사하는 가게가 없어 1층 상가가 컴컴하다”고 전했다.
It's impossible to say where the line between the common rhetorical style of the small businesspeople and the actual dire conditions goes. The report itself is of course not made to consider structural changes which surely are making the conditions for "traditional" marketplaces (chaerae sijang) worse.

Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang:

Comments to note "(Small businesses) "Less consumption than during the IMF"" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 11.5.04 : 

우리 집에 다 들어왔당께 - I love that they write the 사투리 as it is spoken. I would blame IMF for everything to if it brought my five kids back home too!

대전에서 돈 있는 사람들은 서울 백화점으로 물건 사러 간단다. - Well I guess this person failed to account for all the richer people from smaller local cities (군산, 서천, 논산, 금산, 대천, 홍성, 공주, 서산, etc.) that make the run to 대전 on the weekends.

통신업 : 14.6 → 13.0% Probably the least surprising statistic on there (unless you think it should be more.) Have you come across any stats relating to the increase in Internet purchasing or business? I am assuming that when it says 통신업 it just relates to telecommunication technology and not business conducted through it.

Haloscan ate my comment. Thought I'd try this.


<Blogger Antti Leppänen> said on 12.5.04 : 

I don't think I've seen any stats of what you mention - or if I've seen I haven't paid attention. You'd surely find something at the National Statistical Office site at the 통계작성정보 section in the Korean main page.
Perhaps this is it 사이버쇼핑몰통계조사.

In the use of dialect in an article like that, one the one hand I see a bit of patronizing - marketplaces are where the "ordinary people" and their use of dialect can also be shown in the article, and on the other the use of dialect in the article shows that the people are real people, representatives of those who are mostly affected by the bad economy.
My hunch is that "venture" business keepers would not be quoted in dialect even if they used that in the interview.

About Blogger comments: I don't like the feature that one needs to log in in order to leave
a non-anonymous comment and that there are no spaces for contact info (as in for example Haloscan).

<Blogger Antti Leppänen> said on 12.5.04 : 

Bad link !Managed to mess up the link to the 사이버쇼핑몰통계조사 I tried to put above. If your're interested, perhaps it's better that you just past this on the browser:

<Anonymous Anonymous> said on 12.5.04 : 

Thanks for the information. One of these nights when I am feeling better I will set down and do some research on it. I believe your assumption about selective use of 사투리 is probably correct.

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