DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- 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 Thursday. 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.
Some economists also say the state's economy and job growth is concentrated in fields that are not ideal for self-employment.
"It's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, it's just 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.
Some unemployed and underemployed workers go into business for themselves because of a lack of other opportunities, while some people choose self-employment for freedom and flexibility.
"You've got to be pretty involved, and there's a lot to it with all the taxes, business demands and things you've got to remember," said Erik Hunter, 40, who owns Urban Village Renovations in Kettering, a contracting business that specializes in renovating and repairing historic homes. "But the advantages are I can set my own schedule, and if I need a sick day I can take a sick day, because there is no one I must answer to."
But self-employment also can result in more financial stress and insecurity than working for others, and self-employed workers on average earn less than their counterparts, experts said.
The Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information -- which uses different estimates of the self-employed -- predicts the number of self-employed and unpaid family workers will fall to 291,700 in 2020 from 299,550 in 2010.
Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com