February 13, 2009

Self-employed struggling in South Korea

An average of 10,000 South Korean small businesses close daily during the economic crisis, the National Statistical Office says.

NSO officials said Friday that the number of self-employed individuals in South Korea fell 416,000 in January compared with November's figures, leading to the troubling business closing average, The Korea Times reported.

January's lowered total of 5.59 million self-employed residents represented the lowest self-employment tally in South Korea since the country had only 5.52 million small business owners in February 2000.

The small business decrease in January came as a Korea Small and Micro Business Development Agency survey found most small businesses in South Korea are not earning a profit during the current economic crisis.

The January study, which surveyed 440 small businesses, found only 23 percent of those businesses enjoyed a profit in the previous month.

The Times said, according to a Ministry of Strategy and Finance official, such struggles occur since small businesses are more susceptible to economic downturns than salaried workers.