Number of businesses at 20-year high

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Number of businesses at 20-year high

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The number of registered businesses last year was the most since related data was first compiled in 1993, largely thanks to baby boomers.

According to Statistics Korea yesterday, last year the number of businesses jumped 3.8 percent from the previous year to hit 3.6 million. The number of employees working at the businesses increased 2.1 percent year-on-year to 18.46 million.

When compared to 1993, the number of businesses was 56.3 percent higher, while the number of employees climbed 50.8 percent.

The only time the figures dropped was in 1998, during the Asian financial crisis.

Businesses declined by 2.4 percent from 2.85 million in 1997 to 2.78 million in 1998. The number of employees dropped 7.8 percent from 13.5 million to 12.4 million.

Those in their 50s were the age group with the most heads of businesses, at 34.8 percent. Those in their 40s trailed at 31.4 percent, while 16.7 percent were headed by those in their 60s or above. Those in their 30s accounted for 15 percent of business heads, while 2.1 percent were run by twentysomethings.

Baby boomers in Korea are considered people born between 1955 and 1968. They account for roughly 15 percent of the population.

Most baby boomers are opening restaurants, lodgings businesses or even convenience stores after retirement. Most retire in their 50s.

In fact, restaurants and lodgings were the most common businesses after wholesale and retail. Among the total number of businesses, restaurant and lodgings accounted for 18.7 percent while wholesales and retail were 26.1 percent.

The publication, video content production, broadcast and communications sector saw the largest growth in terms of the number of new businesses, the data showed.

Meanwhile, the percentage of women CEOs has been steadily increasing for the past five years.

Across all industries, the proportion of women chiefs rose from 36.8 percent in 2008 to 37.7 percent last year.

Women are dominant in the accommodation and restaurant, education, and social service sectors, data showed.

By SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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