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Self-Employment in America - 7/15/15

Many stories have emerged recently indicating that increasingly we are a nation of freelancers participating in the sharing economy.  The stories indicate that more Americans are deriving their incomes from self-employment by serving as Uber drivers or managing properties rented through Airbnb or other sites.

Based on this, one might deduce that self-employment is at an all-time high in America.  Data indicate otherwise.  According to Moody’s Analytics, the share of the workforce that reports that they are self-employed is declining and lower than at any point in the last seventy years.  Similarly, many people might be under the impression that an abundance of younger people are cobbling together their living via multiple part time positions.  While it’s true that part time work is more prevalent than it used to be, underlying trends are complex. 

During the decade prior to the most recent recession, the percentage of employed people with full-time positions stayed steady at eighty four percent.  During the recession, the full-time share dipped to approximately eighty one percent as many were pushed out of full-time jobs and settled for part-time ones.  But much of that lost ground has been recovered and the full-time employment share is back to eighty three percent and rising.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.