The fundamental transformation of the American labour market
Latest research indicates the full-time independent workforce is a permanent and rapidly growing portion of the American economy
HERNDON, VA | Topline data from the first release of MBO Partners‘ 2015 State of Independence Report indicates that the full-time independent workforce, with close to 18 million workers earning a significant portion or all of their income outside of traditional employment, is a permanent and rapidly growing portion of the American economy. In addition to these full-time independents, there are 12.5 million “side-giggers,” who take on part-time independent work.
The number of independents earning $100,000 or more per year has grown 45 percent over the last five years, totaling 2.9 million people.
The report, announced on 30 June 2015, is the first release of data; the full State of Independence Report, which will provide additional findings tracking five years of data on the independent workforce, will be released in the fall.
High-earning independent workers now represent 10 percent of all independents and are the fastest-growing segment. The number of independents earning $100,000 or more per year has grown 45 percent over the last five years, totaling 2.9 million people.
The American economy is bouncing back, but in a fundamentally different form from what it looked like pre-recession. The independent workforce, a small portion of the overall labour pool before the recession, has seen unprecedented growth, outstripping traditional employment gains and jobs report numbers despite some predictions that a recovery in the job market would lure independents back to traditional employment.
Overall, the independent workforce has recorded 12 percent growth, compared to 7 percent growth in overall employment over the last five years. This trend is forecasted to continue, as 4 in 5 independents plan on staying independent, and 1 in 7 non-independents plan to join that group in the coming years.
With multiple revenue streams from an average of four or more clients, 4 in 10 workers say they feel more secure working independently than in a traditional job.
“As this first look at the State of Independence research shows, the independent workforce is a rapidly growing population of high-income professionals,” said Gene Zaino, founder and CEO of MBO Partners. “Nearly 18 million Americans are independent workers, and with 79 percent saying they are happier working independently than in traditional jobs, we expect this trend to continue.”
When evaluating the independent lifestyle, a majority of independents say that it was entirely their choice to go independent, and 4 in 5 say they are happier for it. Flexibility and ownership are major draws to independent work, as is earning potential. With multiple revenue streams from an average of four or more clients, 4 in 10 workers say they feel more secure working independently than in a traditional job.
Tracking five-year growth, the MBO Partners State of Independence series is based on more than 14,000 in-depth surveys of independent workers since 2011. The study evaluates the motivations, satisfaction, and demographics of those working as independent consultants, freelancers, contractors, and self-employed, temporary, or on-call workers.
As the number of independents grows as a major part of the new American workforce, MBO Partners continues to support them by providing the technology and services they need to start and run their business, from payroll to contracts to accounting.
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Travelling across the USA image courtesy Pablo Rios@freeimages.com