The production index for restaurants dropped by the largest margin to date last year, state data showed on Feb. 26, showing the weakness of the business segment that self-employed people heavily rely on.
The index dropped to 94 last year from 97.2 a year earlier, the biggest fall since record keeping began in 2000, according to Statistics Korea.
The production index for the restaurant business is based on sales, with a base line of 100.
The restaurant sector has a relatively low entry threshold for people who do not have big financial resources but want to start their own business. Success and failure in the sector is often tied to the living conditions of ordinary people, also reflecting local spending levels.
The index used to increase in the 9 percent range in the 2000s before being hit by the global financial crisis in 2008. It fell for the second consecutive year in 2018 after a fall of 3.1 percent in 2017.
Last year’s figure is close to the 94.2 of 2005 and dipped lower than the years of the financial crisis in 2008 (99.2) and 2009 (98.4), according to the data.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)