The Gig Economy has seen a lot of growth in the United States recently, as more people are looking for Freelance work, seeking more fulfilling careers, flexibility, and financial stability. 

According to Upwork's 2022 “Freelance Forward” Study, 39% of the US workforce, or 60 million Americans, performed Freelance work in the past year.

Gig Economy on the Rise - Freelance Work Grows to 39% in the US

We are Becoming a World of Freelancers

One reason for the growth in Freelance work is that more people are seeing it as a valuable career choice. 73% of professionals think that freelancing perceptions are getting more positive. That's up from 68% in 2021. 

Younger people, especially those in Gen Z and the Millennial generation, are more likely to work as freelancers. In 2022, 43% of Gen Z professionals and 46% of Millennial professionals did Freelance work, and a major part of freelancers (51%) were primarily engaged in providing knowledge services such as computer programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting.

The tech industry, in particular, embraced the Gig Economy and the benefits it brings. Many tech companies have found that hiring freelancers allows them to access a wider pool of talent and expertise, without the time and cost associated with traditional hiring processes. Additionally, Freelance work allows professionals to work on a project-by-project basis, rather than committing to a full-time job, which can be especially appealing in the fast-paced and constantly evolving tech industry.

The Side Hustle

Another trend is that more people are looking for multiple sources of income, through a mix of traditional employment and Freelance work - this is known as diversified work.  In 2021, 17% of US workers did this, which is 3% more than in the previous year. This is especially common among people with postgraduate degrees, with 26% of US freelancers holding one in 2022. That's up from 20% in 2021. According to Zippia, 45% of Americans have a “Side Hustle”.  And the percentage of side hustlers earning more than $1,500 per month grew 2X larger between 2020-2021. In 2020, only 5% of side hustlers earned more than $1,500 per month. However, as of 2021, up to 15% of side hustlers earn more than $1,500. Due to economic uncertainty and the rise of movements like "The Great Resignation" and "Quiet Quitting," professionals are reevaluating their career goals and searching for more fulfilling and flexible options. Americans spend an average of 13 hours per week on their side hustles.

Gig Economy on the Rise - Freelance Work Grows to 39% in the US

The Gig Economy is Here to Stay

The data from Upwork's study shows the Gig Economy is here to stay, continuing to grow and change. Freelance work's recent growth in the US demonstrates that more professionals are seeking out purposeful, alternative career paths that provide new ways of managing their professional trajectory.

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