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Freelancers Make Up 35% of the U.S. Workforce

Posted on 10.05.2016

Freelancer marketplace Upwork, in partnership with Freelancers Union, today released a study of the U.S. independent workforce and it's shedding light into the lives of these workers and the impact it has on the world.

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Some of the highlights from "Freelancing in America: 2016" include:

+ Freelance workforce grew from 53 million in 2014 to 55 million in 2016 and currently represents 35 percent of the U.S. workforce

+ The freelance workforce earned an estimated $1 trillion this past year, representing a significant share of the U.S. economy.

+  63 percent of freelancers said they started freelancing more by choice than necessity

+ 73 percent of freelancers said that technology has made it easier to find freelance work -- up 4 points (from 69 percent) since 2014.

"The freelance workforce is the fastest-growing component of the economy. Figuring out where it is going is the most pressing question of our digital age. Working together, Upwork and Freelancers Union are asking the questions that matter, and, through their unique position, finding the answers that we all want to know," said Louis Hyman, Associate Professor and Director of the Institute for Workplace Studies, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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