Freelancing in the U.S. Today

When Elance acquired ODesk several months ago, many knew it signified that the very definition of work in general was changing.

Today, more than one in three workers (53 million Americans) are now freelancing, and their impact is significant. The freelance economy contributes more than $715 billion in earnings to the national economy according to "Freelancing in America: A National Survey of the New Workforce." The study, commissioned by Freelancers Union in partnership with Elance-oDesk, revealed several interesting insights, including:

- Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease (32 percent increase, versus a 15 percent decrease).
- Almost two out of three (65 percent) freelancers said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was three years ago.
- Three times as many freelancers expect their hours to increase in the next year as expect their hours to decrease (38 percent expect to increase hours, versus 12 percent expect to decrease).

"The 53 million Americans who are freelancing already contribute more than $700 billion to our national economy and help U.S. businesses compete and find the skills that they need. This is just the start: The connected era we live in is liberating our workforce. The barriers to being a freelance professional -- finding work, collaborating with clients and getting paid on time -- are going away," said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance-oDesk.