The fastest growing jobs sector for young adults is now self-employment


If you’re a young adult who’s responded to the weak labor market by creating your own job, you’re not alone.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show individuals defined as “self-employed, unincorporated, and unpaid family workers” grew faster than any other between July 2014 and July 2015, at 8%, representing 349,000 workers.

Government jobs and leisure and hospitality were next up at 7% growth. Here’s the chart:

The BLS does not track this exact category on a nationwide basis for all workers, so it’s difficult to compare whether young adults are employing themselves at a faster rate than everyone else.

But the absence of that data, as well as the growth itself in self-employed workers adds further evidence to two initial findings by Harvard’s Larry Katz and Princeton’s Alan Krueger about changes in the labor force: that the number of people in the “gig economy” is growing, and that we need more information to show its true extent.

Total employment across all industries for 16-24 year-olds climbed just 1% during the tracking period.

Meanwhile, 16-25 year-olds are getting booted out of the oil industry at an astonishing rate, as that sector continues to shed jobs as a result of low prices. Whereas they comprised 14% of all “mining and logging” workers a year ago, they now make up just 9%, and have seen a 40% decline overall.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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