Fewer Mom-and-Pop Stores Can Afford Any Staff

  • By Jung Seok-woo

    August 12, 2021 13:44

    The number of small businesses that employ workers other than the owner has been dwindling for 32 months.

    They were hit hardest by the raise in the minimum wage and the coronavirus pandemic, and as lockdown was tightened in July things got even worse.

    According to Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of self-employed businesses with staff stood at a mere 1.27 million in July, down 71,000 from a year ago. This is the longest downward trend since statistics began in 1982.

    Store fronts in Seoul are vacant on Aug. 6.

    One 35-year-old restaurant owner recently let three part-timers go and is managing on his own. "Due to lockdown we don't have enough customers to cover labor costs," he said

    The statistics for July were based on a survey between July 11 and 17, before lockdown was tightened even further across the country, so August figures could look even grimmer.

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