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Self-employment down since recession, new study finds

SEO 2021 | February 6, 2014

self employment

While self-employed workers make up 6.6 percent of all reported jobs, this is down from a high of 7.2 percent in 2006, according to a new report.

A job can take many different forms. It can be part or full time. It can be at an office, school, factory or construction site. It can involve working on a computer all day or driving a truck all night.

A job can also consist of working with a big team of people, or it could mean being your own boss. In fact, the U.S. has an estimated 10 million self-employed jobs — defined as workers who, when surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau, consider self-employment to be a significant part of their income or time working.

While self-employed workers make up 6.6 percent of all reported jobs, this is down from a high of 7.2 percent in 2006, according to a new report from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. Self-employment grew rapidly from 2001-2006, adding close to 1.8 million new jobs nationwide. While self-employment appeared to be a growing trend in the early 2000s, self-employed jobs declined by 936,000 since the recession began and have not yet recovered post-recession.

“The market for self-employment was significantly weakened by the recession. However, as full-time employment in traditional workplaces continues to improve we expect entrepreneurial opportunities to follow suit with time,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of “The Talent Equation.” “A rebound in housing will lead to more growth for independently employed construction and real estate workers as well as other occupations in the supply chain. Moreover, many high-paying jobs in IT and consulting have already seen positive self-employment growth in recent years.”

Self-employed jobs declining while salaried jobs rising
Self-employment jobs have declined 5 percent since 2009. Since the peak of self-employment in 2006, the U.S. has lost nearly a million self-employed jobs, a 9 percent decline. By contrast, the number of jobs for salaried employees — those who work in traditional work settings — has risen 4 percent since 2009.

The decline in self-employed jobs coincides with a rise in Americans working side jobs to supplement their incomes. More people are getting second and third jobs, but fewer people are dropping their day jobs altogether to work on their own. According to a separate CareerBuilder survey, 20 percent of full-time workers picked up a second job in 2013 or plan to do so this year.

Some self-employed occupations making gains
While self-employment overall is trending down, there are some occupations that are seeing a growing number of self-employed workers. While the biggest gains in self-employment have been in lower-wage jobs — landscaping workers, maids, personal care aides and photographers — several high-wage occupations have made significant gains. These include market research analysts/specialists, management analysts and computer occupations.

Here’s a closer look at self-employed occupations with the most total new jobs (2006-2013):

Manager, all other (includes proprietors of unincorporated businesses who could not be classified within a specific industry)
Change in jobs: 39,839
Percent change: 15

Landscaping and groundskeeping worker
Change in jobs: 37,939
Percent change: 13

Maid and housekeeping cleaner
Change in jobs: 37,102
Percent change: 9

Construction laborer
Change in jobs: 30,287
Percent change: 10

Personal care aide
Change in jobs: 17,367
Percent change: 18

Web developer
Change in jobs: 10,819
Percent change: 67

Recreation worker
Change in jobs: 9,116
Percent change: 40

Medical transcriptionist
Change in jobs: 8,902
Percent change: 375

Home health aide
Change in jobs: 8,151
Percent change: 22

Change in jobs: 7,968
Percent change: 12

Click here for the full report