NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The stagnant economy has really taken a toll on self-employment numbers, but a closer look says it is growing at least in one key area -- an area that really needs the work.
First the numbers.
According to CareerBuilder.com, the economy holds 10 million self-employed jobs right now, or 6.6% of all U.S. jobs.
But CareerBuilder says the self-employed made up 7.2% of the workforce in 2006, before the recession. That represents a decline of 936,000 self-employed jobs in the past seven years, after a five-year period starting 2001 in which those numbers grew by 1.8 million.
Why, in a six-year period where employers laid off workers in droves, would self-employment take a dive? It seems that in times of economic strife, Americans workers consider corporate work a "safe harbor," even if there's no guarantee they'll keep those jobs.
"The market for self-employment was significantly weakened by the recession. However, as full-time employment in traditional workplaces continues to improve we expect entrepreneurial opportunities to follow suit," says Matt Ferguson, chief executive of CareerBuilder. "A rebound in housing will lead to more growth for independently employed construction and real estate workers as well as other occupations in the supply chain. Moreover, many high-paying jobs in IT and consulting have already seen positive self-employment growth in recent years."
Americans are taking on part-time, moonlighting jobs to cover the bills. According to CareerBuilder, 20% of full-time employees landed a second, part-time job last year. But while "more people are getting second and third jobs ... fewer people are dropping their day jobs altogether to work on their own," the firm reports.