Surprised? According to a new study released just this month by Upwork and Freelancers Union titled Freelancing in America 2019, freelancers performing a skilled services earn a median rate of $28 an hour, which is more than 70% of workers in the overall U.S. economy. The desire for flexibility is driving this huge growth with 57 million Americans now a part of the freelancer economy. That’s an additional 4 million people who chose to transition to freelance since 2014.
Another shocking number to come out of the study is the amount of income that freelancers contribute to the US GDP. At nearly $1 Trillion this makes up about 5% of our GDP, which is more than some huge industries like construction and transportation. You can see this broken down further in a chart below from the study.
The freelancer economy clearly shows no sign of slowing down. Now that skilled workers are making more and gaining the flexibility they desire, 51% say no amount of money would ever entice them to take a traditional job. In fact, for the first time in this study, just as many surveyed viewed freelancing as a long-term career choice as they do a temporary way to make extra money.
This is a shift that companies can’t afford to ignore. Technology is playing a huge role in the sourcing and management of freelancers with platforms needed to connect companies looking for flexible workers and freelancers seeking jobs. 77% of freelancers say technology has made it easier to find work and this will play an even larger role in the future.
Learn more in the full study on Upwork.