Hospitality businesses were the hardest-hit mom-and-pop enterprises when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, data from the National Tax Service show.
Overall, self-employed people reported W708.6 trillion in sales last year, down 13 percent from a year earlier (US$1=W1,120).
Small accommodation businesses were hit hardest with sales declining nine percent to W3.49 trillion, followed by restaurants whose sales fell 5.5 percent to W98.88 trillion. Wholesale businesses’ sales declined by W4.3 trillion and car dealerships’ by W2.7 trillion.
In contrast, retail and real estate sales rose by W4.1 trillion and W1.57 trillion.
Declining sales meant loss of jobs. According to Statistics Korea, the number of employed people declined by 218,000 last year, including 159,000 jobs lost in restaurants and hotels. The number of self-employed businesses without staff increased by 90,000 in 2020, while those who did employ staff dwindled by 165,000.
The trend is continuing this year. The number of employed people plunged by another 380,000 in the first quarter. Self-employed people with staff dwindled by 136,000 while the number without staff increased by 30,000.
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