Upwork, in a recent study, revealed Americans continue to work freelance jobs amid the pandemic.
The Continuous Growth of the U.S. Freelancing Economy
“Amidst the economic challenges in 2020, freelancing continues to be an important part of the economy.”Upwork Chief Economist Adam Ozimek
Freelancers comprise 36% of the U.S. workforce, leading to a $1.2 trillion contribution to the U.S. economy. The $1.2 trillion indicates a staggering 22% increase since 2019. The study also revealed a 2-million increase in the field of freelancing.
“It’s not surprising freelancing is on the rise in this era of uncertainty. We expect this trend to continue as companies increasingly rely on freelancers as essential contributors to their operations.”Upwork president and CEO Hayden Brown
With the current economic conditions, it’s highly likely that the freelancing economy will continuously grow amid the coronavirus.
The Key Findings
Freelance Forward 2020 is the seventh annual Upwork study of the U.S. workforce. It surveyed 6,000 U.S. workers aged 18 and above and lasted from June 15 to July 7.
Alongside finding the increase in the number of freelancers in the economy, it also found that:
- There’s an increase in full-time freelancing. Full-time freelancers’ share has increased to 36%, an 8-percentage point increase since 2019;
- Freelancing potentially increases income. 75% of people who went from full-time to freelance say their income stayed the same or increased.
- Young adults find economic opportunity in freelancing. 50% of the Gen Z workforce (aged 18-22) have freelance jobs, and more than a third started when COVID-19 struck.
- Highly skilled workers work freelance jobs. Professional services, such as IT and marketing, are provided by 50% of freelancers, increasing by 5% from 2019.
- Freelancing is the future. 58% of non-freelancers consider working freelance jobs in the future.
According to Brown, firms believe that freelancers can introduce new skills and capabilities to organizations and add flexibility to demand and work capacity. Additionally, Ozimek said that first-time freelancers entered the workforce to adapt to the coronavirus’s changes.
More Findings from the 2020 Upwork Study
More than economic opportunities and the future of remote working, Freelance Forward 2020 also showed that:
- Freelancing helps address financial needs as people aged 55 above grow older. 65% of Boomer freelancers say that freelance work is a good transition into retirement.
- The freelance workforce is getting younger, with 50% of Gen Z workers (18-22 years old) working as freelancers
- 67% of full-time freelancers say that freelancing helped them cope with the uncertainty of COVID-19 better than a traditional job
With the dynamic changes in today’s society, people’s perception of freelancing is also changing. Freelance Forward 2020 data show that 71% of freelancers believe that freelancing views as a career are becoming more positive.
“The changing dynamics to the workforce that have occurred during the crisis demonstrate the value that freelancing provides to both businesses and workers.”.Adam Ozimek
As the transition from traditional work to remote jobs continues, many Americans turn to freelance to cope. The booming freelance economy in the U.S. continues to prove that freelancing provides opportunities that Americans can cling onto.