SEJONG, Nov. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of nonwage workers in South Korea rose slightly this year from two years earlier amid a protracted economic slump, government data showed Wednesday.
There were a total of 6.86 million unsalaried workers, such as self-employed people, as of August, up 0.4 percent, or 28,000, from the same period in 2015, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. In a separate report, the number of wage workers reached 19.88 million in 2017.
Of the total, one-man operations, which don’t hire workers, numbered 4.14 million this year, while 1.56 million people hired workers to run their businesses and 1.16 million were serving family-run operations without pay.
Male unsalaried workers totaled 4.2 million, while figures for women stood at 2.66 million.
Those in their 50s and 60s accounted for nearly 60 percent of all nonwage workers, followed by 24.7 percent of people in their 40s.
Nearly 23 percent of them were engaged in private or public service businesses, while 21.5 percent were running wholesale and retail shops and 12.4 percent were in the food and accommodation sector.
Experts said many early retirees who were left jobless due to recent corporate restructuring and retiring baby boomers have chosen to set up mom-and-pop stores or small restaurants.
Observers said it is hard for older people to land jobs again due to the country’s economic sluggishness.