Despite growing concerns of soaring youth unemployment and labor costs, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance maintained its bright outlook on the local economy.
In its monthly economic assessment report, called 'greenbook' released on Friday, the ministry said the Korean economy is on a steady recovery path on the back of rising exports and a rebound in domestic consumption.
It reiterated its assessment from the greenbook for November, which pointed at a rebound in domestic consumption as Korea and China decided to mend ties and move past their brawl over Seoul's deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula.
The following report for December, showed that the number of Chinese visitors was gradually increasing, as the rate of decrease of Chinese tourists to Korea stood at 36.7-percent in December on year, while the previous month the rate was over 42-percent, and above 69-percent in July.
Retail sales jumped by 5.6-percent on-month in November due to increased sales of winter clothing.
That jump is in stark contrast to the previous month, which recorded a near three-percent decline.
However, experts are not entirely convinced of the ministry's optimistic outlook, even despite promising numbers in Korea's exports which stood at a record-high of 573.9-billion U.S. dollars last year.
"Although there are signs that show relations between Korea and China are recovering, it's still early to tell whether their improved ties will boost the local economy."
The expert added that job creation in the private sector still remains sluggish, while labor costs have increased with the rise in Korea's minimum wage to seven dollars per hour, up 16.4-percent from last year's.
The youth jobless rate in 2017 also edged up to nine.nine-percent, the highest level since data was first compiled in 2000.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.