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Aging and self-employment

Self-employment incidence increases with age. Older workers (age 55 and over) are almost twice as likely as core-age workers (25 to 54) to be self-employed.  In 2009, well over a quarter (28.3%) of older workers were self-employed, compared to 15.7% of core-age workers.

In 2000, over one-fifth (21%) of all the self-employed were older workers—a share that climbed steadily throughout the decade, reaching 29% in 2009. In contrast, paid employees age 55 and over made up 14% of the total salaried workforce in 2009, but this was an increase from only 8%  ten years earlier—another sign of population aging.

Older workers were the only population group spared the impact of the recent labour market downturn, but the job gains among self-employed individuals age 55 and over (7.6%) far exceeded the increase among their counterparts who were paid employees (2.9%).

Chart - Self-employment rate in the last decade

Description

Chart - Self-employment rate in the last decade

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

Total self-employment grew 2.7% in 2009, whereas total employment among paid employees fell by 2.4%. While 2009 was a bad year for paid employees and a good year for the self-employed, 2007, for example, was a good year for both—overall unemployment was then at a record low of 6.0%.

Table - Self-employment in the last decade

For more information, see "Self-employment in the downturn" - HTML | PDF 

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