- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Florida created more jobs with people working for themselves than any state in the nation, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, but the reason may have more to do with underemployment than anything else.

The state added more than 63,000 new self-employed jobs from 2012 to 2013, representing close to a quarter of the 270,000 new self-employed jobs created nationwide during that period, according to the Census.

But given Florida’s below-average ranking in earnings and weekly hours worked, the increase in self-employed jobs may be the result of people just hustling to earn some extra money on the side to compensate for being unable to work enough hours at their regular jobs, said Ray Schaub, an economist at the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

“Non-employer non-businesses tend to be part-time on top of what they’re doing fulltime,” Schaub said. “If they’re underemployed, it’s an incentive to go out and do something extra.”

Florida had more than 1.8 million self-employed workers. Professional services jobs led the way in pure numbers in both Florida and the nation, but real estate and rental jobs were tops in total receipts earned.

That may be the result of real estate agents, who abandoned the field during the housing crisis seven years ago, reactivating their licenses, as well as investors snatching up cheap properties during the housing bust and now managing them as rentals, Schaub said.

The job sector with the smallest number of self-employed workers in Florida was mining.

Nationwide, it was utilities.


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