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Monday, August 03, 2009

On “Boss Nation”

The Wall Street Journal’s Mark Penn has an excellent column that should be read by entrepreneurs, those aspiring to own and run their own business, and those making policy that affects the entrepreneurial sector of the economy.

The piece is titled “Boss Nation,” and highlights how deeply entrepreneurship runs among Americans, and how being the boss is a growing phenomenon.

Penn, for example, notes:

• According to the Census, more than 10 million Americans are self-employed, up from about 8 million in 1980. Even more telling, the number of "non-employer firms" -- businesses with no payroll -- recently topped 20 million, up from 15 million in the late 1990s. A lot of people with jobs also have businesses on the side they hope will become big enough to support them. And so the term "boss" today applies to a lot more of us than ever before. If you have 6 million bosses in companies across the country, and 10 million self-employed, then out of 145 million people working, roughly one in 10 can be said to be the boss.

• The self-employed have tended, historically, to be older, male and white, although that's changing. Between 1976 and 2003, the percentage of self-employed workers who are women jumped to 39% from 27%. The self-employed are also over-represented at the bottom and top of the income and education curves, which underscores the risk/reward nature of running your own business and is one of the reasons that entrepreneurship has been so valued in American culture.

There’s more to read here.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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