The share of self-employed workers has increased during the pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Self-employment was less susceptible than other forms of employment to the initial declines at the onset of the pandemic, and it also recovered more quickly to pre-pandemic levels.
The share of the labor force that is self-employed increased around 0.4 percentage points between February 2020 and August 2020 and, as of February 2022, self-employed workers made up 11% of the 157 million employed U.S. workers.
The construction industry (16.5%) and the professional, scientific, and technical services industry (13.5%) had the largest shares of self-employed workers between February 2020 and January 2022.
The share of women who are self-employed has been rising since 2010, but it experienced a marked increase during the COVID-19 recession. This suggests that self-employment is a more attractive option for women dealing with the burden of home and child care.