South Korean Official Visits MERIC

Sung-Yu Moon, an official with the South Korean Ministry of Planning & Budget, was sent to the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), International Sales division, as a visiting scholar. He recently visited MERIC to learn about its data collection programs, its uses and origins. 

South Korea has sustained incredible growth and integration into the world economy since the early 1960s, and is investigating the need for better data collection methods. Although
Korean kingdoms date back almost 1,000 years, the current democratic government dates only from 1948.

Big Business
Four decades ago, South Korean GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies and now has the third highest GDP in Asia behind China and Japan.

South Korea is also the third largest recipient of Missouri exports. The value of Missouri products shipped to the Land of the Morning Calm skyrocketed more than 400 percent from 2004 to 2005, from just over $113 million in 2004 to almost $572 million in 2005, especially transportation equipment ($390 million).

Mr. Moon inquired about such issues as MERIC’s relationship with DED (MERIC is a largely federally funded entity, under DED), the number of MERIC employees (currently 41), and how MERIC and the federal government collaborate in such programs as:

●  The Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey. Begun in 1939, this survey of
    payroll records covers over 300,000 nonfarm businesses on a monthly basis and
    provides detailed industry data on employment levels, hours and earnings of

●  The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program. Formerly
    known as ES-202, and, like CES, dating from the late 1930s.  QCEW produces
    comprehensive employment and wage data of workers covered by unemployment
    insurance laws. QCEW is a virtual economic census of employment and wages
    each quarter, based on quarterly contribution reports from more than eight
    million employers.

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, founded in 1976. The
    program produces monthly and annual employment, unemployment and labor force
    data for census regions and divisions, states, metropolitan areas, small labor
    market areas, counties and many cities.

●  The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program. It's new – 1998 -- and
    produces employment and wage estimates for over 700 occupations. These are
    estimates of the number of people employed in certain occupations and estimates
    of the wages paid to them. The OES program surveys approximately 200,000
    establishments per survey cycle, taking three years to fully collect the sample of
    1.2 million establishments.

 The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program, also new, 1996. It is a cooperative
    statistical effort which uses a standardized, automated approach to identify,
    describe, and track the effects of major job cutbacks using data from each state.
Mr. Moon learned about federal-state cooperative statistical programs.
MERIC learned that South Korea is a dynamic economy with many potential opportunities for Missouri businesses.

Contact Information
For more information about business opportunities in South Korea, contact Zatuilla Nara, International Business Manager, Asia Pacific/Japan, 573-751-6728,

For more information about South Korea, visit the government's web portal at

Sources: Interview, CIA Factbook, MERIC export data, program websites.

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