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Home-based work on the rise.

Home-based businesses make a considerable contribution to a state's economy, For example, "Based on conservative estimates, six percent of Indiana residents--88,821 people--are home-based workers," notes Barbara Rowe, associate professor in consumer sciences and retailing and cooperative extension service specialist in family resource management, Purdue University. "That's close to $1,500,000,000 a year in generated income."

Her research also revealed that home-based workers are extremely happy even if they are putting in a lot of hours and not making very much money. They are satisfied even when their job disrupts family life, but some businesses are more intrusive than others. "It's a lifestyle choice, and they're happy with their situation. Those unhappy are disappointed in the amount of money they're making, but they expect the situation to improve with time. Over all, very few plan on leaving their situation."

The study found that rural areas support more home-based employment than do urban regions. Of rural Vermont's total population, 12.8% are home-based workers; in rural Utah, 10%; for rural Michigan, 6.9%; and in rural Missouri, 6.2%.

"Income varies with occupation and geography, The number of hours an individual devotes to the work is an important income factor. Women in home-based work are grouped in lower-paying categories of services, clerical work, and crafts, while men choose higher-paying jobs such as contractor and mechanic. It's more cost-effective for a woman when it's a second income."

Differences don't stop there. "Since they're often juggling two jobs, women home-based workers are doing more planning and overlapping of duties. A woman watches children, does the laundry, and performs her job at the same time. Men's businesses frequently rely upon a spouse's unpaid contributions or paid assistance."

Home-based workers tend to live in traditional families. Half are married with children; one-third are married with no offspring. Eighty-eight percent own their home, and nearly half have lived in the same location for more than 20 years.

Home-based businesses may invade a family's private life, but the interruptions vary with the type of job. 'Outside sales away from the home are not as intrusive, while assembly or telephone work cause constant disruptions, and occupations where people are coming into the home are very intrusive. Bookkeeping and tax consulting aren't as intrusive, but the individual can't be a part of the family while working like someone can if they're quilting."
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Dec 1, 1993
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