A new report has revealed a huge rise in self-employment in New York City. The study, by the Center for an Urban Future, reported that nearly 250,000 workers in the City are self-employed. This number has grown by 31% since 2000. Many people suggest that self-employment rises during recessions and times of economic hardship. People who lose their jobs decide to enter into self-employment. But self-employment has also fallen during many recessions. So the rise of self-employment is by no means a rule.
Jonathan Bowles, the Executive Director at the Center for an Urban Future says, “New York City overall is clearly seeing a freelance boom.” He thinks that a part of the increase in self-employment is due to necessity. Large companies are laying people off, and there is a lack of good jobs to replace these roles. But he also suggests that there is a more positive side. The technology available to many people makes it easier for people to set up on their own. You don’t need an office, employees or anything apart from a computer and an internet connection. So low cost business ideas are accessible to many more people than before.
Self-employed people can set up a business with few tools. Using WiFi, Skype and web-based collaboration tools they can work with other people. There’s no need for an office or sophisticated setup. Innovative spaces, such as co-working offices, make accessing facilities and collaborating with businesses easier.
In NYC, the Bronx has seen an increase in freelancers. Manhattan has seen a decrease. But the most popular place for freelancers to set up is in Brooklyn. In this area, more than 72,500 residents have chosen to become self-employed. Brooklyn is well-known for having a creative community. It’s the perfect environment for self-employed creatives, tech companies and other startups. Brooklyn has a high-quality of life. And self-employment allows for people to choose to work wherever they want.
New York isn’t the only city experiencing a rise in self-employed workers. Across the country, people are choosing to go it alone, instead of remain in permanent employment. In fact, the States isn’t the only country experiencing this phenomenon either. In the UK, self-employment is also rising, but there is some concern that it isn’t all good news. Unemployment has reached record highs over recent years. Many people suggest that the rise in self-employment is due to job seekers pushed into taking on the status. Many of the newly self-employed in the UK are over 50, choosing to become self-employed because of a lack of options elsewhere.
There are ups and downs with rising self-employment. While new technology is making self-employment more accessible for many, it’s also seen as a last resort for some. Many people entering self-employment could put pressure on certain markets, resulting in lower wages. This is something that many freelancers have already noticed. New technology allows for anyone worldwide to bid for freelance jobs. The result is that many businesses are happy to pay for low-cost work from abroad. Many freelancers then struggle to make ends meat.