Service output rose in all 16 provinces and major cities for the third straight quarter in the fourth quarter of last year amid the vaccine rollout and the economic recovery, data showed Thursday.
Service output grew 5.4 percent in the October-December period from a year earlier, accelerating from a 3.9 percent on-year gain in the third quarter, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
It marked the third consecutive quarter of gains since the second quarter of 2021, when service output increased in all 16 provinces and major cities for the first time in six quarters.
The service sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but deep slumps in the in-person service segments, including accommodations and retail, eased as people increased economic activity amid the vaccine rollout and the economic recovery.
In the fourth quarter, the southern resort island of Jeju reported the fastest on-year growth in service output with 8.6 percent. The eastern province of Gangwon saw service output rise 7 percent on-year and Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, reported a 6.7 percent on-year gain in service production.
For all of 2021, service output also increased in all 16 provinces and cities. Service production rose 4.3 percent last year, a turnaround from a 2 percent on-year fall in 2020.
Meanwhile, retail sales, a gauge of private spending, rose in eight provinces and six cities in the fourth quarter, except for the southeastern city of Ulsan. Service output remained unchanged from a year ago in South Gyeongsang Province.
Seoul -- home to about one-fifth of the country's 52 million population -- reported a 10.5 percent on-year gain in retail sales, and those in Jeju Island increased 11.8 percent, the data showed.
For all of last year, retail sales rose in nine provinces and five cities, reporting a 5.5 percent on-year gain. (Yonhap)