This is why more and more women are self-employed

More women are freelance now than before the pandemic, an analysis published this week by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. In addition, the increase in self-employment is more likely to involve women of color and women with children under the age of 6.

“The rise of self-employment is a disproportionate narrative of women, especially non-white women, choosing to be self-employed,” the economists wrote in their analysis. “This also seems to be tied to having young children at home.”

The number of women who reported being freelance increased from 7.5% in the pre-pandemic period — which the article identified as the first half of 2017 to 2019 — to 8.2% in the first six months of 2022. For comparison, the share of male self-employed increased from 12.1% to 12.4% during the same period. So, although there was an increase in both men and women, the change was more pronounced in women.

Much of the increase has come from black and Hispanic women. This rate represents an increase from 4.1% before the pandemic to 5.2% in the first half of this year. Self-employed Hispanic women increased from 6.1% to 7.4%. The number of self-employed white women has also increased, but at a lower rate. However, white women still make up a larger share, with 9.2% reporting being self-employed in the first half of 2022.

Women with children under 6 years old will increase from 7.1% in the pre-pandemic period to 8.3% in 2022. Women without children increase less, from 7.6% to 8.2%.

Using data from the University of Minnesota’s 2017-2022 Current Population Survey, the economists behind the report offered this analysis as “a starting point for assessing the body after the pandemic ceased”.

They note that even as the rate of self-employment for all women increases, white men still have the highest rates.

In addressing the patterns they found, the authors pointed to a lack of access to child care as a plausible explanation for the increase in female self-employment.

On Friday, the Center for American Progress released a report consider the childcare sector as it continues to “below pre-pandemic levels” due to its inability to hire and keep staff. That, the researchers wrote, prevents workers with caregiving responsibilities, mainly mothers, from participating fully in the workforce.

“A childcare workforce operating under capacity significantly affects the economy as a whole,” the researchers wrote. “As parents struggle to find care for their children, some — most likely mothers — may have to reduce their working hours or quit the workforce altogether. “.

Their solution: Government investment to improve job quality by increasing wages as childcare lost 8.4% of its workforce to the pandemic.

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