Over the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in the number of freelancers in the world, and the United States is not an exception. The number of freelancing platforms that have sprung up has contributed to this development.
With more and more people wanting to have control over their lives and time, a lot of people have turned to freelance jobs than traditional jobs. The recent coronavirus pandemic has made even more people go into freelancing as there has been a strong emphasis on remote working.
If you are considering going into freelancing, you will be interested in finding out some fascinating facts about the freelancing economy. There’s a lot of room for more freelancers as the gig economy is projected to increase by 40% according to a study by intuit.
In this article, we’ve compiled important stats and facts about the freelancing economy in the United States.
A report published by Gallub suggests that 36% of US workers are into freelancing, either through their primary or secondary jobs. This percentage translates to about 57 million Americans; this number is expected to rise in the future.
This number has increased by 4 million from 53 million people recorded in 2014 who are into freelancing. Due to the recent emphasis on remote work, more freelancing opportunities will open, this means the number of freelancers will increase.
As reported by Upwork and freelancers union in 2018, US freelancers spent 1 billion hours doing freelancing work per week. This shows the number of American freelancers is increasing, back in 2015, 72 million hours of freelancing work was recorded per week but this number has grown by 92% and still growing.
In 2019, statistica carried out a survey on 6000 freelancers as to the main reasons why US workers decided to work the gig economy. This survey revealed that seventy-nine percent (79%) of full time freelancers say they do so, in order to have flexibility over their schedule.
On the other hand, seventy-three percent (73%) of part-time freelancers also freelance to take control over their schedule.
The freelancing industry in America contributes more than $715 billion every year according to forbes, and with freelance economy expanding 3x more than the US workforce, the annual contribution of the Gig economy is not slowing anytime soon.
A study by Wonolo shows that one of the reasons why US workers participate in the freelance economy is that 63% of these workers feel safe doing freelance work. According to them, a portfolio of clients is more reliable than having a single employer.
Also 41% of US freelancers say in addition to their freelance work, they also have a permanent job aside.
Social media platform, LinkedIn conducted a survey which shows that seventy percent (70%) of small businesses in the United States have used a freelancer for their business before and close to fifty percent (50%) of US businesses are still currently using freelancers.
Most small businesses about fifty-two percent (52%) also have the plan to hire freelancers in the future.
Surveys carried out by the conference board and MBO partners revealed that independent workers have higher levels of satisfaction than the traditional job holders. The higher satisfaction level gained by the independent workers is believed to have been as a result of job flexibility, control and freedom that the independent workers enjoy.
In the their report “Gig economy in the US”, statista says that only nineteen percent (19%) of gig workers want a traditional job in 2019, this means eighty one (81%) of freelance workers are satisfied with their gig works to having a traditional job.
CNBC report shows that US freelancers are paid a median rate of $20 dollar per hour as opposed to the $18.80 paid to the US workforce, The report also shows that freelancers offering skilled services earn as much as $28 per hour, this earning is more than what 70% of US workers earn per hour.
Statista carried out a survey in 2018 which was published in 2020, to find out the sector freelance economy workers are most employed in the United States, The results obtained shows the government/public sector is the most employer of gig workers with 14% of the respondents confirming so.
Furthermore, 12% of the respondent were employed in the profession and business services, Education and health – 10%, Manufacturing – 9%, construction – 9%, Financial services – 8%, Trade, transportation, utilities – 7%, Leisure and hospitality – 6%, technology – 5% and other sectors – 12%.
From 800 gig workers surveyed in 2017, Statista found that the most preferred payment method for gig workers in the U.S is PayPal. Only 8% of the respondents preferred being paid through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as against 70% respondents who reported being paid through PayPal.
As reported by Upwork and freelance union, eighty one percent (81%) of freelancers find skill-related trainings and education valuable to remain marketable as the freelance market evolves. Out of the 81%, sixty six percent (66%) are full time freelancers and fifty-three percent (53%) are full time non freelancers.
In the same report by Upwork, sixty-one percent (61%) of freelance workers confirmed that they started freelancing work by choice and not by necessity. This was an eight percent (8%) increase from fifty three percent (53%) of freelancers who reported that they do freelancing by choice in 2014.
Technology has had a big impact on the freelance economy as sixty-four percent (64%) of freelance workers confirmed that they find freelance works online. This was a 22 points increase as compared to forty-two percent (42%) of freelancers who said technology helped them find work online in 2014.
A survey carried out by USA Facts indicates that the gig industry is dominated by the male folks. The report shows that fifty-four percent (54%) of all gig workers are male as compared to forty-six (46%) of all gig workers that are female.
According to Upwork, the younger generations who are into freelancing are increasing. The study shows forty-two percent (42%) of freelancers are within the age of 18 to 34 years old compared to thirty-eight percent (38%) in 2014. Among the 42% that are into freelancing, 45% of them are within the age of 18-21 years and 42% are within the age of 22-34 years old.
When asked which type of education was useful to the type of work they do, 93% of freelancers found a skill related training more valuable to the work they do, than seventy-nine percent (79%) of freelancers who found college education useful to their type of work.
Upwork revealed that among the 93% that found skill-related education useful, 40% of them found skill-related education “somewhat useful” while 53% of them found it “very useful”. On the other hand, among the 79% of freelancers that found college education useful, 36% of them found it “somewhat useful” while 43% of them found college education “very useful”.
According to MBO, more than half of the U.S working population will go into the freelance economy by 2023 or would have worked at some point in their career in the freelance economy.
In their survey, USA facts found that the white Americans dominate the industry with 74.6 percent, African American came second with 17.1%, Hispanic/Latino came third with 16.4 % and Asian gig workers are 5.8% of the total gig workers in the united states.
Gig workers by education level shows that 25% of all gig workers had bachelor’s degree only. 23.2% of US gig works had some college/associate degree, freelancers with advanced degree are 19.7% of all gig workers.
Also 17.7% of all gig workers said they are high school graduates only while gig workers with education level less than high school comprise 4% of all gig workers.
According to MetLife in 2019’s annual U.S Employee Benefit Trends, sixty-seven percent (67%) of full-time employees have more interest in freelance work than their current jobs. Also, twenty percent (20%) of full-time employees said they have a secondary job apart from their primary job.
MetLife’s study also stated that, almost 30 million U.S workers get their primary income from freelancing or part time gigging. This figure translate to almost a fifth of the U.S workforce, furthermore, 15 million workers say in addition to their traditional job, they do freelancing by the side.
This figure is expected to increase as more and more workers move to the gig economy.
Half of the number of freelancers surveyed by Upwork said they believe that freelancing is a better job to traditional jobs and would not go back to traditional jobs irrespective of what it pays.
This is not surprising as freelancing allows gig workers to have great control over lives as it offers them a flexible working time, control over the type of work they do and also gives it them control over when they want to work.
Freelancers said that they are more likely to give their support and vote for political candidates that support their freelance interests. Over 72% of freelancers surveyed said that they will vote for candidates that support freelance interests regardless of whether they support the party or not.
Virtual vocations in their report stated that top five states for remote works are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. This is because more remote job openings have been highest in these states.
The gig economy has a lot of advantages as it offers gig workers the freedom that traditional jobs don’t offer. Significant growth in the gig economy has been recorded in the last five years and the numbers is expected to rise in the future.
As more remote work opportunities open up, the gig economy is expected to have more freelancers. Whether you want to join the gig economy now or in the future, you are never late. Opportunities abound in the freelancing world as it contributes a lot to the U.S economy.