AT A GLANCE

  • The total number of self-employed Americans (aged 21 and up) grew to 40.9 milion in 2017
  • Independent workers represent 31% of the U.S. civilian labor force
  • The number of high earning (< $100,000 annually) independent workers rose for the sixth year in a row

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Jul 01, 2017

Highlights From MBO Partners State of Independence in America 2017

We’re sure you’ve read the 2017 State of Independence in America Report that was released last month (June 2017) by MBO Partners, one of the country’s largest providers of business services and tools to self-employed workers and companies that engage them. But just in case you haven’t or just want a quick refresher, we wanted to highlight some of the key findings and insights from this valuable report.

  • The total number of self-employed Americans (aged 21 and above) rose to 40.9 million in 2017. This is up 2.8% from 2016.
  • Independent workers now represent 31% of the U.S. civilian labor force.
  • Over 40% of U.S. adult workers report that they either currently or have worked as an independent worker at some point in their career.
  • The number of high earning (<$100,00 annually) independent workers rose for the 6th years in a row
  • There is a “barbell” effect on both sides of the independent work spectrum (unskilled and skilled). On the low end, there is a growing demand for online platform workers (Uber drivers, TaskRabbiters) and on the other end; there is a strong growth in entrepreneurial indepdent professionals.
  • The top reasons for choosing independent work included “be on my boss” (77%) and “flexibility” (74%)
  • Only 26% of independent workers view independent work as “very risky”, and 19% say it is “not at all risky”
  • MBO Partners predicts that by 2022, the total number of independent workers in the U.S. will hit 47.6 million
  • Independent workers generated $1.2 trillion for the U.S. economy in the last year, equivalent to about 6% of the country’s GDP.
“While we continue to see differences in attitudes between the different groups of independent workers, the population generally reports that independent work—and the independent lifestyle—is a satisfying way of building income and obtaining greater freedom, control and purpose, The very structure of work in America is evolving, and the demand for skilled independents will only increase as companies look to become more agile and flexible in the future.” ~Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners

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