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Boss yourself around

February 28, 2013 - Rob Weaver
An article by Dayton Daily News notes Ohio has a relatively low self-employment rate. Some 5.6 percent of 5.5 million workers are self-employed. That puts us 42nd among states.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It may be Ohioans can find jobs working for someone else easier than residents of other states. Or maybe residents of other states have to work for themselves or not at all.

The jobless rate of 6.7 percent in December left Ohio tied for 22nd place among the states, so perhaps there is some truth to that.

Scott Shane, economics professor with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, offered the Daily News another reason. He suggested Ohio has a lower level of self-employed workers than many other states because we have a lot of jobs tied to automobile or steel production. It's tough to start your own steel mill or auto plant, he noted.

There may be some truth to that. States without many manufacturing jobs but a large tourist industry could mean more individuals run mom-and-pop restaurants, shops, bed-and-breakfasts, charter boats or outfitters. Vermont has the nation's highest self-employment rate, 10.4 percent. But I doubt all those folks keep busy making maple syrup.

I also suspect more Ohioans are self-employed than the numbers indicate. Self-employment is the primary job for about 312,292 Ohioans, according to 2013 data from Economic Modeling Specialists International. But that doesn't count people who work full time for someone else, while farming, building furniture, making crafts or performing services on the side. Cottage industries aren't always chief sources of income.

There are two other reasons people may be reluctant to be self-employed, but they aren't unique to Ohio or any other state. One is the risk of becoming self-unemployed. The other is the possibility of starting your own business, then finding you don't like the boss. Or the staff.


Article Comments



Mar-01-13 9:16 AM

The investment of goods, services and equipment will play a big part is starting any business. Along with the loss of security of a job. Not many have the drive that is required to work 12 hours a day 6 days a week for low pay either.


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