30 Facts About The Freelance Economy That Might Surprise You: A Look At The Statistics

 

What is the freelance economy?

The freelance economy, also known as the gig economy, refers to the growing trend of people working as independent contractors or freelancers rather than traditional employees.

According to a report by the Freelancers Union and Upwork, there were approximately 57 million freelance workers in the United States in 2020, accounting for roughly 36% of the U.S. workforce.

This trend is expected to continue in the future, with some estimates suggesting that freelancers could make up as much as half of the U.S. workforce by 2027.

Freelancers come from a variety of industries and backgrounds, with some working in creative fields such as writing, design, or photography, while others work in more technical fields such as programming or consulting.

Many freelancers work part-time or on a project-by-project basis, while others work full-time as freelancers.

 

Why join the freelance economy?

The freelance economy offers a number of benefits, including greater flexibility, autonomy, and control over one’s work.

According to a survey by the Freelancers Union, 84% of freelancers said they value the freedom and flexibility that freelancing offers. In addition, 69% of freelancers said they started freelancing to have more control over their work.

 

Are there any drawbacks?

However, the freelance economy also has its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of benefits and protections that traditional employees receive.

Freelancers are not entitled to the same benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off as traditional employees. In addition, freelancers may struggle with finding steady work and managing their finances.

 

So why is the freelance economy a growing trend?

Despite these challenges, the freelance economy is a growing trend that is shaping the way we do business and work.

As more people turn to freelancing as a way to earn a living, it is likely that we will see more companies and organizations embracing the gig economy and working with freelancers on a regular basis.

In fact, a survey by Upwork and the Freelancers Union found that 63% of companies surveyed hired freelancers in 2020, and 72% of those companies plan to continue hiring freelancers in the future.

Some numbers:

  1. In 2020, there were approximately 57 million freelance workers in the United States, accounting for roughly 36% of the U.S. workforce. (Freelancing in America: 2020, Report by Freelancers Union and Upwork)
  2. The number of freelancers in the United States is expected to reach 87 million by 2027, making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. (Freelancers Union)
  3. The freelance economy contributed $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2020. (Freelancers Union)
  4. The number of freelance job postings on online platforms increased by 29% from 2018 to 2019. (Upwork)
  5. The industries with the highest growth in freelance job postings from 2018 to 2019 were marketing (63%), customer service (58%), and writing (54%). (Upwork)
  6. 63% of companies surveyed by Upwork and the Freelancers Union hired freelancers in 2020, and 72% of those companies plan to continue hiring freelancers in the future.
  7. The average hourly rate for freelancers in the United States is $28 per hour. (Upwork)
  8. The top skills in demand for freelancers in the United States are web development, graphic design, and content writing. (Upwork)
  9. The top industries for freelance work in the United States are IT and programming, creative and design, and writing and content creation. (Upwork)
  10. 84% of freelancers said they value the freedom and flexibility that freelancing offers. (Freelancers Union)
  11. 69% of freelancers said they started freelancing to have more control over their work. (Freelancers Union)
  12. 55% of freelancers said they started freelancing to pursue their passions or interests. (Freelancers Union)
  13. 39% of freelancers said they started freelancing to earn additional income. (Freelancers Union)
  14. The freelance economy is expected to create 2.7 million new jobs by 2027. (Freelancers Union)
  15. The freelance economy is expected to grow by 3.9% annually from 2019 to 2027. (Freelancers Union)
  16. The top countries for freelance work are the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. (Upwork)
  17. The average age of a freelancer in the United States is 45. (Freelancers Union)
  18. The freelance workforce is evenly split between men and women. (Freelancers Union)
  19. The freelance workforce is more diverse than the traditional workforce, with a higher percentage of Black, Latino, and Asian workers. (Freelancers Union)
  20. 41% of freelancers in the United States have a college degree. (Freelancers Union)
  21. 63% of freelancers in the United States have healthcare coverage. (Freelancers Union)
  22. 46% of freelancers in the United States have a retirement plan. (Freelancers Union)
  23. 45% of freelancers in the United States have savings for emergencies. (Freelancers Union)
  24. 50% of freelancers in the United States have experienced income volatility in the past year. (Freelancers Union)
  25. 74% of freelancers in the United States are confident in their ability to find work. (Freelancers Union)
  26. 63% of freelancers in the United States are satisfied with their career choice. (Freelancers Union)
  27. The top challenges for freelancers in the United States are finding steady work, managing finances
  28. 77% of freelancers in the United States have had to turn down work due to a lack of time or capacity. (Upwork)
  29. 25% of freelancers in the United States have had to turn down work due to a lack of skills or experience. (Upwork)
  30. The average freelance worker in the United States works 36 hours per week. (Freelancers Union)

 

Overall, these statistics show the significant and growing impact of the freelance economy on the U.S. workforce. The trend is expected to continue in the future, with the number of freelancers in the United States expected to reach 87 million by 2027.

Freelancers come from a variety of industries and backgrounds and offer a range of skills and expertise.

While freelancing offers benefits such as flexibility, autonomy, and control over one’s work, it also has its challenges, including the lack of benefits and protections that traditional employees receive and the difficulty of finding steady work.

Overall, the freelance economy is a significant and growing part of the U.S. workforce, offering both benefits and challenges for those who participate in it.

As the gig economy continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see more companies and organizations embracing the use of freelancers and the hybrid work model.

Want to find out more about Wedo and the freelance economy?

Die Gig Economy und die Zukunft der Zusammenarbeit: 25 Wege, wie Freiberufler mit Wedo effektiv mit anderen zusammenarbeiten können