The self-employed population for the month of August was 6.79 million, a drop of 0.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
The number of self-employed workers in wholesale and retail fell by 55-thousand, and personal service and telecommunication businesses saw a drop of 30-thousand.
By age, the number of self-employed people in their forties fell by more than 130-thousand on the back of a sluggish performance by the manufacturing and wholesale and retail sectors.
The number of self-employed people in their fifties also saw a large drop due to the closure of self-employed businesses.
Statistics Korea says that the economic downturn has dampened consumer sentiment which has led to the closure of self-employed businesses that were already struggling.
The proportion of self-employed people who employ workers dropped by 7 percent on-year.
The economically inactive population, which includes homemakers, students and those who can't or won't work, grew by one percent from last year to more than 16-million.
And the number of those who are taking a break from working hit a record high of 2.1 million.
The agency says this is due to a change of people's perspective about not working, with people giving themselves time for self-development to prepare for the next step in their lives.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.