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Glance at women self-employment trends across the nation

28th April 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Nayita Wilson
Contributing Writer

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Women in Business (CWB) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have released Women-Owned Business — Carving a New Ameri­can Busi­ness Landscape, a research driven report that examines the challenges and growth trends for U.S. women who are self-employed and small business owners.

For its purposes, CWB referred to self-employed as those individuals who work for “unincorporated entities” and business owners are women who are employees of their own incorporated enterprise.

One key factor in the report is the number of women-owned businesses that operate with the owner as the sole employee. According the report, 90 percent of women-owned businesses have no employees outside of the owner in comparison to 82 percent of all businesses; and two percent of women-owned businesses have at least 10 employees in comparison to four percent of all firms.

The report pointed out several key findings regarding growth trends for women entrepreneurs, most notably the geographic breakdown across the nation.

In states such as Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Nevada, women account for 43 percent to 45 percent of the full-time self-employed population—the highest in the nation. Each of these states has shown an increase in the number of self-employed women with Nevada leading the pack with a 25 percent increase between 2001 and 2013. Tennessee is tied with Nevada with a 25 percent growth rate as well.

North Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota show the smallest percentages of full-time self- employed women with ranges between 27 percent and 32 percent.

The national average is 38.2 percent.

“Our goal was to highlight a critical growth trend for women-owned businesses – the rise of a ‘new’ kind of enterprise that often employs no more than its proprietors,” according to Robert Phillips, CWB executive director.

“Everyone has heard of big names like Tory Burch and Sara Blakely who have great success stories to tell, but we think it is equally important to highlight ‘jobless entrepreneurs’ who, either by choice or necessity, have chosen to strike out in their own micro-enterprises, and the big impact they have on the broader economy,” she noted.

The report also shows how female self-employed workers fair by state and industry.

For instance, in Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Virginia, 85 percent to 93 percent of self-employed women work in the health care and social assistance industry. The national average for this population is 76.7 percent. States such as Alabama, South Dakota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Pennsylvania fall below average in this category with 65 percent to 69 percent of self-employed women working in these industries.

Of all industries reported, self-employed women showed the least traction in the professional, technical and business services arena. Wyoming, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho and Maine show the highest participation rates between 41 percent and 46 percent. The national average for this population is 35.7 percent. States with the least amount of participation by self-employed women in this industrial grouping include Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota and Vermont with rates of participation between 25 percent and 29 percent.

Additional industries profiled in the report include, retail, communication and other services.

The report also documented various wage trends among self-employed women. In the “High-Wage Self Employed Occupation Categories” section, it detailed occupations that pay more than $20 per hour that show the highest participation of female self-employed workers.

The median hourly ranges for the occupations listed are as follows: management analysts ($27.99): accountants and auditors, ($26.42); psychologists ($32.81); lawyers and judicial law clerks ($37.55); therapists ($29.60); counselors ($20.61); insurance and sales ($21.16); registered nurses ($20.63); miscellaneous legal support workers ($23.84); physicians and surgeons ($69.65); software developers and programmers ($23.28); social workers ($21.09); tax examiners, collectors and preparers and revenue agents ($21.33); sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing ($20.90); and market research analysts and marketing specialists ($26.33).

This CWB report did not explore the topics based upon racial demographics, according to Phillips.

She stated: “The Chamber Foundation’s 2013 Enterprising States study, however, noted the clear trend in growth of minority and immigrant enterprises overall. Between 1982 and 2007, for example, African American-owned businesses increased by 523 percent; Asian American-owned businesses by 545 percent; Hispanic American-owned businesses by 696 percent; and businesses owned by whites by 81 percent. Today, minority-owned businesses make up 21 percent of the nation’s 27 million small businesses.”

With all statistics in mind, CWB notes that it is advancing policy and initiatives to focus on expanding women entrepreneurs locally and regional. Its priorities include advocacy on women’s business matters, networking, business management assistance and support, access to contracts, access to capital and leadership development and mentoring.

This article originally published in the April 28, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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