Due to its essentially fragmented nature, it’s really hard to measure precisely how many people are working independently, either as entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, freelancers, task rabbits, slashers, part-timers and what have you. There is no single entity tracking this fluid workforce in any kind of systematic way. However, we can safely say that there are at least 10 million U.S. workers who fall into this category of independent, contingent or free agent style work (that’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics figure), and some estimates put that number as high as 60 million. And it’s pretty clear that that number is growing and will continue to grow in the years ahead.
Some stats from a variety of sources:
- As much as one-third of the U.S. Workforce is comprised of “free agents.” (Source: Accenture)
- The number of freelance workers is expected to outpace the number of full-time workers by 2020. (source: Forbes)
- Freelancers Union estimates the total freelance workforce to be 42 million – a nearly 400% increase since 2005. (source: Freelancer’s Union)
- Over 60% of companies currently use or intend to use freelancers (Source: eTowers Lane/ eLance Survey)
- 58% of millenials consider themselves “entrepreneurs.” (Source: Forbes)