Who is Self-Employed?

Here is a snapshot.  About ten percent of all workers are self-employed.  Most of them are older: about 20 percent are 65+ years old, while only 2 percent are 20 to 24 years old.  One-third work part-time, and 15 percent have paid employees.

The self-employed are more likely to work in these areas:  agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, construction, and professional and business services.  Here are the self-employment rates for several occupations in these industries:

Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers:  84%

Construction (e.g., carpet installers and painters):  26 - 30%

Construction managers:  50+%

Management analysts:  28%

Real estate managers:  22%

Door-to-door sales workers:  50%

Those who have paid employees work longer hours; about 40 percent work more than 50 hours a week.  Those who work by themselves work shorter hours (40% fewer than 35 hours per week).  When compared with all workers, the self-employed are more likely to say that their jobs require creativity, allow them to develop their skills and abilities, and give them freedom to decide what to do on their jobs.