The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) added data on the number incorporated self-employed to their monthly employment indicators release. It's on the bottom of Table A-9. Until January, the BLS only reported unincorporated self-employment in their monthly release.
Why does this matter?
Incorporated self-employment is 37% of total self-employment. In January, for example, there were 14.5 million self-employed workers in the U.S. with 5.2 million incorporated and 9.3 million unincorporated.
But since prior to January only unincorporated self-employment data was in the monthly release, people often mistook this for total self-employment. This resulted in many believing U.S. self-employment is much lower than it really is - and much confusion around the size, role and importance self-employment plays in the U.S. economy.
The BLS has collected incorporated self-employment data since 1967 and it has been available by request. But it hasn't been included in the monthly Employment Situation release because when the BLS started collecting self-employment data, almost no one was self-employed and incorporated. Forming and maintaining a corporation was simply too complex and expensive for the self-employed.
This changed with the development of the Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the 1970's and 1980's and IRS changes in the 1990's that made them much more attractive to soloprenuers. Because of LLCs, the use of incorporated self-employment has grown rapidly over the last decade.
Emergent Research was one of the the groups who lobbied for this change, and kudos to the BLS for doing it. The monthly Employment Situation report is probably the world's most watched and analyzed statistical release. Making changes to such an important publication is not easy, and our thanks go to everyone at the BLS who helped make this happen.