Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Self-Employed Are a Major But Underappreciated Force

A new study from Massachusetts makes an important point about the 21st century American economy: the self-employed are a major but underappreciated economic force. While most people recognize that self-employment is growing, they don’t know that many measures of state or local employment don’t count sole proprietors. Instead, they simply track those workers who are paid as employees.

The report, by Salem State College’s Laurence Goss, details the numbers for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Within the state, there were more than 472,000 sole proprietors in 2004. This total accounts for 17% of Massachusetts’ total employment.

The report concludes that policymakers need to better understand the importance of this sector of the economy. They should also take steps to provide better support and encouragement to sole proprietors and other micro-business owners.

Data and analysis on sole proprietors in Massachusetts are available from the Enterprise Center at Salem State College. The Sole Proprietor Research Information Pack can be accessed here.

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