The benefits of self-employment are clear—work flexibility, not having to answer to a boss, getting to choose the work you want to do, and lots more.

If you’re thinking about becoming a self-employed worker in the US, it helps to get an overview of the trends, numbers, and statistics about self-employment. More specifically, understand how many Americans are self-employed.

According to the latest figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of August 2022, the number of self-employed people in the US is over 9.6 million.

August 2022’s figure of 9.63 million self-employed workers represents a 0.97 percent rise from July—the third consecutive monthly decrease. It’s also a 5.66 annual decrease from August 2021’s 10.21 million. 

The highest number of self-employed recorded so far in 2022 was in May, at 10.07 million, with the lowest so far recorded in August. 

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Coronavirus Impact on the Number of Self-Employed in the US

In July 2021, a record-high of 10.3 million was registered. This coincided with the rebound the US economy experienced in 2021, during which it grew 5.7 percent.

In 2020, the number of self-employed in the US tumbled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The lowest number recorded was in April 2020. At 8.24 million, this was a 13.15 percent year-over-year decrease, and the first time the number of self-employed workers in the US fell below nine million in more than ten years.

The decline was caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in work losses and business closures for many of the self-employed in the US. This comes as no surprise, as self-employed workers are among the most vulnerable during economic downturns and tend to be the first ones to be made redundant as businesses scale back to cut costs.

According to the BLS, self-employed workers were “much more likely” to have lost work as a result of the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic than workers in the private and government sectors. 

This was most evident in May 2020, during which 42.2 percent of self-employed workers said they weren’t able to work at some point in the past month as a result of the pandemic. 

Things have, however, improved since. The latest figures from August 2022 show that just 3.1 percent of self-employed workers in the US continue to struggle with this problem.

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