August 10, 2015 11:03
The number of self-employed people has fallen to the lowest in 21 years.
The trend is mostly the result of small stores and restaurants closing during the prolonged economic slump exacerbated by the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which drove private consumption to a halt.
Statistics Korea on Sunday said 4.06 million people were self-employed as of June this year, down around 96,000 from a year ago.
The number has been declining gradually since the mid-2000s, dropping 30,000 to 50,000 a year, but this year the decline was twice as fast.
As of 2013, 42 percent of working Koreans were self-employed, chiefly in transportation, food and hospitality, much more than the OECD average of 15.8 percent. In such a crowded field it stands to reason that the failure rate should be much higher too.
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