SEOUL – The number of self-employed people in South Korea has fallen at a far faster pace in 2020 than last year in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, data showed Tuesday.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy had 5.548 million self-employed people as of the end of July, down 127,000 from the same month a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Small Business Institute and Statistics Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.
The decrease is far higher than the figure from a year earlier. In July last year, the number declined by 26,000 on-year.
Self-employed people with employees numbered 1.345 million as of end-July this year, down 175,000 from a year earlier.
In contrast, the number of self-employed people without employees came to 4.203 million, up 48,000 from a year earlier.
South Korea’s self-employed people have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures, which have sent the country’s consumer spending tumbling.
Experts have urged the government to come up with measures to support the country’s self-employed reeling from the virus-caused economic slump.
The government is mapping out an extra budget worth at least 7 trillion won (US$5.9 billion) to provide “tailored” state support for those battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the self-employed.