More Mom-and-Pop Stores Make Do Without Staff

  • By Kim Jung-hoon

    July 15, 2021 13:07

    Fewer and fewer mom-and-pop businesses can afford to employ any staff, with the number of those who do hitting a record low of 1.28 million last month.

    That was down 84,000 or six percent, according to Statistics Korea on Wednesday. Their number was 1.5 million only two years ago.

    By contrast, the number without any staff stood at a whopping 4.3 million last month, up 113,000 on-year and rising for 28 months in a row. That suggests that tens of thousands either let their staff go or opened a new business without bothering to hire any help in the first place.

    A man shops in an unmanned store in Seoul on Tuesday. /Yonhap

    The main reasons seem to be the drastic increase in the minimum wage and dismal business during the coronavirus epidemic.

    More small business owners cannot afford to hire even part-timers. Next year's minimum hourly wage was set at W9,160 on Monday, surpassing W9,000 for the first time, so many more families may try to manage on their own (US$1=W1,150).

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