freelance work from home

Report: The number of people working in freelance jobs in the U.S. is at an all-time high

The latest annual Freelance Forward study from Upwork notes freelancers are optimistic about future prospects

If you’re tired of the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule, you are not alone. According to the Upwork Research Institute, the number of U.S. freelance professionals increased to nearly 64 million – an all-time high – in the past year. That’s 38% of the current workforce and an increase of four million from the year before.

The Freelance Forward 2023 study from Upwork is a survey of 3,000 professionals and notes, “The data reveals that professionals turn to freelancing for greater flexibility, autonomy, and control of their careers.”

Respondents say, the appeal of freelance work includes being their own bosses. “They determine when, where, and for whom they engage in work, enabling them to control their schedules and lives.”

Of the 60% of all freelance workers who work remotely, 34% say they all of their duties are performed out of office – with 18% saying “a little of their work” is done remotely.

The organization’s 10th annual study says the freelance workforce is an important part of the U.S. labor market and economy. “This year, freelancers contributed $1.27 trillion to the U.S. economy in annual earnings.”

The report says in 2023, 47% of all freelancers have provided services such as computer programming, marketing, IT, and business consulting. Additionally, 23% of all freelancers created influencer content including livestream services, social media videos, images, or blogs.

Notably, the report states, over the past year, “52% of all Gen Z professionals and 44% of all Millennial professionals performed freelance work.” But older workers have been part of the freelance pool in 2023, as well – “13% of all U.S. freelancers were aged 59 or above.”

The surveyed professionals were asked about their optimism to work as freelancers. “When asked about the future, 85% of freelancers say the best days for freelancing are ahead.”

The report also explains, “Freelancers are overwhelmingly optimistic about personal career growth (80%), salary increases (76%), future job opportunities (74%), and personal development (84%).”

Read Upwork’s latest Freelance Forward report here.