6 Years of Insight on the Growth of the Independent Workforce.
The State of Independence is the country’s longest-running end-to-end survey of the American independent workforce. This year’s 6th annual study shows that even as the number of independent workers fell slightly, independence remains a viable – and lucrative – option for many workers in a rebounding economy.
Against the backdrop of 5% unemployment, 5.8 million job openings, and an economy that added 2.74 million payroll jobs in the past year, the total number of self-employed workers aged 21 and over in 2016 remained close to the 2015 total at nearly 40 million.
“Over 40% of the U.S. adult workforce works or has worked as an Independent at some point in their lives,” said MBO Partners founder and CEO Gene Zaino. “The independent workforce is a critical entrepreneurial force in America. Even in the midst of a rebounding job market and economy, independence remains a viable and desired career path.”
In fact, nearly half of Full-Time Independent workers, 47%, report making more money working on their own than they would in traditional employment. The average gross income generated from independent work has risen 30% since 2011, and 3 million independent workers earn more than $100,000 per year.
But the changes being created by independent workers aren’t just about numbers. As time goes on, the barriers separating traditional and independent work will continue to erode. Even as companies add jobs, a growing number of highly talented workers will choose to work independently to earn more money without having to put up with traditional management structure. By 2021, nearly half of the population (48%) will be independent or have tried independent work in their lifetime.
This year’s study underscores that independence will remain a viable and desired option for workers in the years to come.