Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Share of Self-Employed Workers in Oregon

by Jessica Nelson, Economist,

Self-employed workers who run unincorporated businesses are a larger slice of Oregon’s labor force than they are for most states and the nation as a whole. There were 163,000 self-employed Oregon workers in 2013. They accounted for 9.3 percent of workers in Oregon, compared with the national self-employed rate of 6.5 percent. That places Oregon among the “most self-employed” states, ranking 6th in the nation in 2013.

It could be our frontier-loving nature – there is, after all, a self-selection process that has made many independent minded and entrepreneurial types choose Oregon to call home. It started with the Oregon Trail, but it didn't end there. Oregon continues to draw residents from far outside its borders. Job growth has struggled to keep up with the talent streaming across our borders, and in some cases, these new residents choose to start businesses, joining yet another frontier landscape; that of the self-employed.

In the last two recessions, the share of employment that is self-employed has dipped. It has yet to show a consistent trend after the Great Recession that ended in 2009. Nationally, the self-employment rate is much more stable, although it has declined slightly during the past two decades.

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