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Economy

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Self-employment down in Ohio

– Ohio’s number of self-employed residents is at its lowest level since 2001, and its rate of self-employed workers is among the lowest in the nation, according to an analysis of recent economic data.

Only about 5.6 percent of Ohio’s more than 5.5 million workers are self-employed, which is a lower rate than all but eight other states, the Dayton Daily News reported. The data analyzed by the newspaper show Delaware with the lowest share of self-employed workers at 4.1 percent, with Vermont having the highest at 10.4 percent.

The number of Ohioans going into business for themselves has declined partly because traditional self-employment industries such as construction and real estate were devastated by the recession and have been slow to recover, according to the newspaper’s report.

“It’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just (that) the nature of the Ohio economy is people on average are less likely to be self-employed than in some other states,” said Scott Shane, economics professor with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

He said Ohio likely has a lower level of self-employed workers than many other states because it is heavily dependent on industries such as auto and steel production, where self-employment is often impossible.

Self-employment – often in the form of unincorporated businesses, practices or farms – is the primary job and chief source of income for about 312,292 Ohioans, according to 2013 data from Economic Modeling Specialists International, an economics and data company based in Idaho.

Ohio’s largest industries include health care, social assistance and retail trade – where self-employment accounts for less than 4 percent of jobs – and manufacturing, where it accounts for less than 1.5 percent.

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