A survey released by Upwork and the Freelancers Union indicates that the number of US freelancers hit 57.3 Million this year, or 36%, up front 53 million in 2014. That represents a 8.1% growth, compared to total US workforce growth of 2.6%. At the current growth rate we will hit 50% in 10 years.
In my opinion it will be sooner than that as the next recession will put many more would-be non-freelancers out of traditional jobs. Moreover millennials are more likely to freelance presently, the same survey reveals that 47% of working millennials say they have freelanced at some way.
Even more interesting is that 29% of the surveyed said freelancing is their sole income source, up from 17% in just four years! And the percentage of freelancers earning between $75k - $100k this year is 19%, upfront only 9% in 2014.
We have noticed a steady incline in the number of sales people wanting to or willing to work independently, as a freelance contractor. The US workforce as a whole seems to be acclimating to the idea of being self-employed, the flexibility, the lack of commute, the income potential, the autonomy, and the protection from layoffs.
This shift seems to accelerate noticeably during economic recessions. It will be interesting to see how quickly we get to that 50% mark.