The Numbers: How Much of the Workforce is in the Gig Economy?

By the Numbers: How Much of the Workforce is in the Gig Economy?

There is a ton of talk today about the ever-changing state of the US workforce, but just how big is the gig economy? How many people make their living as a freelancer? Up until now, we’ve never had a clear picture of just how strong this network is and where and how they’re finding work. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the independent work is rapidly evolving as digital platforms create marketplaces that make it possible to connect the brands who need a service performed and the workers who will provide that freelance service.

The Numbers:

– 20 to 30% of the working-age population in the United States engage in independent work.

– More than half of them use independent work to supplement their income rather than earning their primary living from it.

– The Freelancers Union estimates that 54 million Americans (22% of the working-age population) are freelancers or self-employed in their primary or secondary jobs.

– Overall, there are 54 million to 68 million independent earners in the United States.

– In the United States, 50% of those between the ages of 16 and 24 who earn income and 42% of earners over age 55 participate in independent work (vs. only 33% of adults ages 24 to 54).

– While some 32 million people in the United States earn their primary income from some form of independent work, supplemental earners constitute an even larger group (totaling 36 million people, or 54% of all US independent workers)

– Casual earners, who do independent work on the side out of choice, make up the largest segment. They account for 40% of all US independent earners.

– 15% of the independent workforce have earned income through digital matching platforms.

– On-demand work will post more than 18% annual growth in the coming years, increasing the number of workers participating in on-demand platforms from 3.2 million to 7.6 million.

– 68% of independent primary earners would like to continue making their primary living from independent work in the future and think it is likely that they will.

Read the full report on McKinsey & Company.