Despite the threat of regulation and rulemaking, the freelance economy continues to grow at a rapid pace according to a new report.

Upwork, a freelance marketplace, recently released its annual Freelance Forward survey. Their survey is considered “the most comprehensive study of the U.S. independent workforce.” 

Their 2022 report, released last month, says more American workers are seeking independent contract work “to find greater professional fulfillment, flexibility and financial stability, and a new approach to managing their career trajectory.”

The survey found 60 million freelancers cumulatively contributed $1.35 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2022—an increase of $50 billion from 2021.

They note freelancing is at an all-time high with it now totaling 39% of the U.S. workforce—up from 36% in 2021.

Other takeaways from the survey include the popularity of flexible work arrangements among Generation Z (43%) and Millennials (46%), growing self-perceptions of freelancing as a viable career (71%), and more workers are optimistic (67%) about their job opportunities working outside a traditional job.   

This report mirrors the growth in the freelance economy observed by MBO Partners, whose 2022 State of Independence report revealed there are 64.6 million Americans—or 39.2% of the workforce—engaging in independent contracting on a full-time, part-time, or occasional basis.

I explained the significance of this survey in a previous IWF blog:

The report also found the number of full-time independents increased to 21.6 million individuals from 15.3 million in 2021—a 27% increase.

Approximately 164.5 million Americans comprise the workforce. That means about 39% of the U.S. workforce engages in full-time, part-time, or occasional freelance work—up from about 36%. Half of them are women.

By 2028, half of the U.S. workforce is expected to participate in the freelance economy. But challenges from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), for example, could set these gains back. 

To learn more about independent contracting, go HERE.