South Korean smaller firms' sentiment weakened for August amid the country's economic slowdown, a poll showed Sunday.
The survey of 3,150 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) showed that the small business health index (SBHI) stood at 79 for August, down 3 from a year earlier, according to the Korea Federation of SMEs.
A reading below 100 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists.
The August's number marks the lowest level since the record-low figure of 76.3 posted in February, the federation said.
The SBHI for the manufacturing sector came to 77.2 for August, down 6.7 from the current month, with the index for the nonmanufacturing sector falling 1 to 79.9, the data also showed.
The indexes for exports, domestic demand, operating profit and financial conditions all turned for the worse for August.
The companies cited sluggish domestic demand as the biggest hurdles, followed by a sharp rise in labor costs.