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Number of Self-Employed Workers in U.S. Down 5 Percent since End of Recession, According to New Report from CareerBuilder and EMSI

CHICAGO, Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. has an estimated 10 million self-employed jobs as of 2013. That's 6.6 percent of all reported jobs, but down from a high of 7.2 percent in 2006. This is according to a new report from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI). Self-employment grew rapidly from 2001-2006, adding close to 1.8 million new jobs nationwide. Since the beginning of the recession, however, self-employed jobs declined by 936,000 and did not recover post-recession.

Self-employed workers are those who, when surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau, consider self-employment to be a significant part of their income or time working. Owners of incorporated business are not counted among the self-employed nor are workers who freelance or have other smaller, secondary sources of income.     

"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," said 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."        

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT: America's Self-Employment Landscape

Key Findings

  • 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 on the side 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 new CareerBuilder survey, 20 percent of full-time workers picked up a second job in 2013 or plan to do so in 2014.
  • The biggest declines in self-employment have come in agriculture, real estate, child care, and retail trade industries. While self-employment for construction laborers has grown since 2006, the industry as a whole has experienced significant declines. The biggest gains in self-employment have been in lower-wage jobs – landscaping workers, maids, personal care aides and photographers.
  • Even with low-wage occupations at the top of the self-employment growth list, several high-wage occupations have made significant gains, most notably market research analysts/specialists, management analysts, and computer occupations such as web developers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of self-employed jobs in the U.S. are taken up by men (62 percent), and more than 30 percent of the self-employed are 55 years and older.
  • Only North Dakota and Washington, D.C. have seen self-employment increases since 2009, and their gains have been minimal (5 percent and 1 percent, respectively). Among large metros, only five have seen at least 2 percent growth in self-employment jobs: Memphis (4 percent), Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk (3 percent), Austin (2 percent), Orlando (2 percent), and Las Vegas (2 percent).

Self-Employed Occupations with the Most Total New Jobs (2006-2013)



% Change

Managers, All Other1



Landscaping & Groundskeeping Workers



Maids & Housekeeping Cleaners



Construction Laborers



Personal Care Aides



Web Developers



Recreation Workers



Medical Transcriptionists



Home Health Aides






Self-Employed Occupations with the Most Total Job Losses (2006-2013)



% Change

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers



Construction Managers



Real Estate Sales Agents






First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers



First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers2



Childcare Workers



Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers



Painters, Construction and Maintenance



First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers2




"Managers, All Other" includes proprietors of unincorporated businesses who could not be classified within a specific industry.


This category includes proprietors of small, unincorporated businesses that may have LLC status and/or have employees under contract. For example, an owner of a small gift shop or antique store who has a single employee may be listed as self-employed in this occupation.

About EMSI
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder company, turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, EMSI builds user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, visit

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions.  Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Ryan Hunt
[email protected]

SOURCE CareerBuilder

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