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247,000 self-employed people lost job in past year: report

An empty store displays a “for lease” sign. (Yonhap)
An empty store displays a “for lease” sign. (Yonhap)
Some 247,000 sole proprietors have lost jobs amid prolonged social distancing regulations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Monday.

According to Yonhap News Agency’s analysis, 247,000 people who were self-employed in mid-September last year lost their jobs and fell into the category of the unemployed and economically inactive within the past 12 months.

The report defines unemployed as those who are able and willing to work and who have been in search of a job but unable to find one. The economically inactive population, on the other hand, includes those who do not have the ability or do not look for a job.

Among the total of 3.16 million who lost their job in the period, the self-employed accounted for 7.8 percent, up 0.6 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data.

The total figure of the unemployed also included 1.23 million who worked as temporary laborers and 1.03 million who were full-time workers.

Food service and lodging industries had the most number of the people of 449,000 who became jobless in the past year. Wholesale and retail industries came second with 398,000 people, while the manufacturing and construction industries followed with 391,000 and 295,000 people, respectively.

Among the sole proprietors who shut down their businesses, 41,000 had hired employees, while 206,000 worked alone, showing their job losses would have had a negative impact in the temporary job market.

“The decrease in the number of proprietors cannot only be blamed on the coronavirus situation. Non-face-to-face transactions and digital transition have been settling as new trends, so the difficulties of small businesses are likely to continue,” a researcher from a policy institute said.

By Jo He-rim (