AQUA BOOK 2014 II - Page 5

O ne source of business ownership is self-employment. Self-employed people generally find their own work rather than being provided with work by an employer, and they earn a significant portion of their income from a trade or business that they operate. A self-employed person is also an entrepreneur because he or she accepts risk in return for a reward from work. As such, the self-employment population in the Coastal Bend reflects the extent of entrepreneurship in the region. Their microenterprises form the backbone of the local economy. Today, more than 18,000 individuals in the Coastal Bend consider themselves self-employed. As for the U.S. as a whole, self-employed workers make up 7 percent of the regional labor force. Self-employment can be considered as a low-income alternative to unemployment or wage work. People are more likely to be selfemployed if their wage employment opportunities become more limited. Nationally, high unemployment across the U.S. since the last recession has led workers to self-select into self-employment. This phenomenon, however, is not happening in South Texas, which has experienced strong employment growth and rapidly declining unemployment rates since 2010. For most Coastal Bend counties, the relative role of selfemployment, as measured by the share of self-employed within the local labor force, has either declined or shown negligible gains since 2001. In striking contrast to the national trend, the regional self-employment patterns are attributable to the relatively strong regional labor markets, particularly due to the shale oil boom in recent years. ENEURSHIP IN THE Source: EMSI Analyst Online Self-Employment Trends ENTREPR Self-Employment Trends since 2001 During the first half of the 2000s, the self-employment population grew steadily across the Coastal Bend. After reaching a peak in 2007 with about 20,600 persons, the upward trend was reversed. Development in the Corpus Christi metro area, which makes up 73 percent of the regional self-employed population, was the key driver behind this cyclical trend. Patterns across Industries Different industries in the Coastal Bend have The role of self-employment varies considerably by industry. The construction industry has the most self-employed workers. The nearly 4,500 self-employed construction workers in the Coastal Bend account for about one quarter (24%) of the region’s total number of self-employed. Other sectors with large self-employment are business services, such as accounting and consulting, and administrative support services. Construction is also the largest sector of self-employment for most counties within the region, except Refugio, where the majority of self-employed is founded in business services. experienced vastly different growth patterns over time in their numbers of self-employed. Self-Employment by Industry, 2014 BEND Different industries in the Coastal Bend have experienced vastly different growth patterns over time in their numbers of self-employed. Si