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Community Development Reports

Worker Voices Special Brief: Self Employment: Dreams vs. Reality

Worker Voices provides a unique view into how job seekers and workers without a four-year degree navigated the labor market during the COVID-19 pandemic and through the recovery — and how it changed what they expect from a job. This brief seeks to both investigate the motivation and experiences of participants’ engagement in self-employment and independent work.

The views expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Worker Voices participants described weighing the tradeoffs of self-employment from the independence it gave to its income generation potential. This research found that participants were pushed or pulled into self-employment for a variety of factors and their experiences did not align with their expectations of this work.

Suggested Citation

Piazza, Merissa, and Ashley Putnam. 2024. “Worker Voices Special Brief: Self Employment: Dreams vs. Reality.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Community Development Reports.