SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — The proportion of self-employed people in South Korea touched a record low in 2022 in the wake of the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy had 5.63 million self-employed people as of end-December, accounting for 20.1 percent of the 28.09 million employed in the country, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
The proportion was the lowest since data tracking began in 1963. It was also 17.1 percentage points lower than the all-time high of 37.2 percent recorded in 1963.
The number of self-employed people had been on the skids since peaking at 6.21 million in 2002.
Self-employed businesses with employees numbered 4.27 million last year, the highest in 14 years, with the number of those without employees rising to 1.36 million last year from 1.31 million in 2021.
South Korea’s self-employed people have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures, which have sent the country’s consumer spending slumping.
In contrast, the proportion of wage earners in the country hit an all-time high of 76.5 percent last year, up from 76.1 percent in 2022 and 45 percentage points higher than in 1963.
The number of wage and salary workers also soared to a new high of 21.5 million last year, according to the data.