Independent Professionals Feel More Financially Secure Than Ever, According to MBO’s 2019 State of Independence Report

By MBO Partners | June 18, 2019

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Independent Millennials Report Confidence in Career Path, Continue Growing as an Economic Powerhouse

HERNDON, VA. – June 18, 2019 – As the U.S. economy continues to grow, the independent workforce is happy, financially secure and maturing, according to MBO Partners. The company today released its 9th annual State of Independence in America Report, the country’s longest-running end-to-end study of the American independent workforce.

Five key trends emerged from this year’s study:

  • Americans declare their independence: More than half of full-time independent workers say they feel more financially secure as independents than in traditional jobs, a record high. Seven in 10 full-time independents say they plan to continue their current path.
  • The rise of the millennials: In the U.S., millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – are displacing baby boomers in the independent workforce. In 2019, millennials made up 38 percent of the full-time independent workforce, up from 37 percent last year. Boomers, many of whom are aging out of the workforce, fell from 35 percent to 33 percent.
  • Independents pump the economy: Independent workers contributed $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy this year – close to the total GDP of Spain.
  • Technology helps independents do what they love: The digital revolution is here. Word of mouth remains the top way that independents find work, but nearly one in three independents say that social media and online talent marketplaces are in their top three methods.
  • Americans #Hustle: More Americans are taking up a side hustle to supplement their income, like driving for Uber or starting a passion business. In 2019, these occasional independents rose in ranks 6.3 percent to 15 million. That number is up more than 40 percent since 2016.

“Independent work continues to be a compelling way to make a living, build valuable skills, find satisfaction, and contribute to economic security for a growing number of Americans,” said Gene Zaino, founder and CEO of MBO Partners. “America is the land of opportunity, and for more than 40 million people, that opportunity means pursuing their passions and enjoying flexibility as independents.”

Even as unemployment remains low, more Americans are turning to independent work as a full-time career. Over the next five years, MBO projects over half of the U.S. adult workforce will either be working or have worked as an independent at some point in their career.

Full-time independents today have overwhelmingly chosen to pursue this path. More than eight in 10 plan to continue this work or build a larger business.

Independents are an economic force, generating 6.2 percent of U.S. GDP, or more than the entire retail trade sector. About one in five full-time independents – more than 3 million total – earn at least $100,000 per year. Around 22 percent of full-time independents said they provided goods or services to customers outside the U.S., up from just 13 percent from 2016.

“This report highlights the critical role independent talent plays in today’s economy and the need to include this category of high impact talent within any organization’s workforce strategy,” said Bryan T. Peña, chief of market strategy at MBO Partners. “The data confirms that the demand for skilled independents continues to rise and we expect the numbers of high-earning independents to rise as well.”

For more information or to obtain a copy of the 9th annual State of Independence report, please visit


About MBO Partners

MBO Partners delivers solutions that make it safer and easier for enterprise organizations and top independent professionals to work together. Through its proprietary platform, MBO has built a comprehensive workforce ecosystem that fuels both sides of the independent economy. MBO strengthens relationships, minimizes risk, and maximizes value for its clients. Its unmatched experience and industry leadership enable it to operate on the forefront of the independent economy and consistently advance the next way of working.



Media Contact:

Danielle Ruckert


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