The Self Employment Boom

Self-employment rates for women, blacks, and Latinos have risen sharply since 1979, according to a study released today by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. During the period, self- employment rates increased across ethnic groups and gender, with an overall increase of more than five percent.

The number of non-agricultural self-employed reached 12.2 million in 2003, an increase of 716,000 or 6.2 percent from 2000?s 11.5 million. Comparing this report to the recently published BLS report shows 2.9 million incorporated self-employed. Unlike Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, this report includes incorporated as well as unincorporated self-employed.

Over the period studied, the report discovered that self-employment rate increased 33 percent for women, 37 percent for blacks, and 15 percent for Latinos. The white rate increased ten percent while the male rate increased two and a half percent.

The numbers of self-employed listed exclude individuals whose secondary occupation is self-employment, individuals who spend less than 15 hours a week on their self-employment endeavors, and agricultural self-employment.

Written by Robert Fairlie with funding from the Office of Advocacy, Self- Employed Business Ownership Rates in the United States: 1979-2003 was released at the Washington offices of the National Association for the Self- Employed (NASE).

For a copy of this report please go to:
Or to obtain the research summary go to:
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