Press Release Economic Crisis and Recovery Jobs United States

How the Pandemic Surge of Self-Employment is Reshaping the US Labor Market

August 29, 2022

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington — The pandemic shutdown of 2020 sent shockwaves through the global economy. As economies reopen, a new labor market analysis released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) highlights one obvious post-shutdown work trend in the US: a surge in self-employment.

Researchers Annabel Utz, Julie Cai, and Dean Baker analyze the demographics and find the increase in self-employment is disproportionately found among non-white women and households with children under six-years-old.

“The lack of access to childcare is a plausible explanation for self-employment increases among this group,” said co-author Utz. “The ongoing childcare crisis has made it difficult for working-class mothers with young children to seek or maintain conventional payroll jobs.”

The analysis also finds that self-employment increases are entirely among people with less education. Those with less education would have less ability to work from home than those with more education.

Self-employment can be incorporated (longer lasting, a greater commitment) or unincorporated. The authors find substantial increases in the share of incorporated self-employed Black and Hispanic workers.This is a notable increase in a relatively short period of time. If it is sustained, it will imply major gains in business ownership for Blacks and Hispanics. 


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