Pandemic Fuels A Freelancing Boom – Forbes

Written by Elaine Pofeldt

With more Americans taking freelance careers full-time and Gen-Z workers turning to independent work because it’s hard to find jobs, freelancing is becoming a far more important contributor to the U.S. economy than in the past, according to new research. And with the pandemic keeping the majority of freelancers fully occupied, the growth shows no signs of slowing.

The 59 million Americans who freelanced in the past year now generate a collective $1.2 trillion in annual earnings, an increase of 22% since last year, according to Upwork’s Freelance Forward Survey. These freelancers make up 36% of the U.S. workforce.

“The flexibility and remote-focused nature of freelancing are really on display right now,” says Adam Ozimek, chief economist of Upwork. “That flexibility is really valuable to workers and clients.”

Edelman Intelligence surveyed more than 6,000 U.S. respondents from June 15-July 7 on behalf of Upwork.

Among the key findings:

More freelancers are going full-time: The share of independent workers who earn a living through full-time freelancing is now 36%, up 8 percentage points since 2019. And 47% of freelancers view independent work as a long-term career choice.

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By Jessica Yap-Chung
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