Lately I’ve been reading, thinking, and talking more about the future of work, what conditions are enabling it, and how individuals and organizations can best prepare to function at a high level within it. Today I want to outline a few statistics that really illustrate where workers and organizations find themselves today within the new economy:

  • In a 4-year period, the growth of independent work in America (+12%) has outpaced the growth of the overall U.S. Labor Force (+7%). This continuing structural shift has illuminated the need for an intense focus on making independent work safer and easier for all.
  • Currently 30 million Americans identify as independent workers, and that number is projected to reach 40 million by 2019.
  • More than 1.1 trillion dollars were contributed to our economy by independent workers in 2014.
  • The recent misclassification lawsuits against Google, Elance, FedEx, Lyft, Uber, Handy, and Lowes will drive the need for safer and easier engagement practices toward independent worker arrangements.
  • Despite the recession, independent worker commitment rose in 2014. 82% are satisfied while 76% intend to carry on as independent workers.
  • 26 million American workers aged 21 and older and not currently working independently are considering a shift to independent work in the next 2-3 years.
  • While 4 in 5 independent workers plan on keeping it that way, 1 in 7 non-independent workers are considering a change.
  • The quality of life for independent workers is going up, as well. The number of independent workers earning $100,000+ has gone up 45% over the last 5 years.
  • 27% of independent workers earn more than $75,000 per year, with 49% earning between $25,000 and $75,000.
  • Earning potential is the #2 most common reason workers chose to go independent (#1 being flexibility, and #3 being entrepreneurship).
  • The average independent worker has multiple revenue streams from 4 or more clients, which means less financial risk.

These statistics paint a picture of a new economy where the watchword is “flexibility,” and that idea is lining up with the values of more and more of our workers. It appears to be good for the soul and good for the economy, too.

What questions do you have about the future of work or working as an independent or solopreneur? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me directly at

All statistics are from MBO Partners.

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