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Report: 24 million independent workers by 2018

September 10 2013

Americans working more than half-time as individual self-employed contributors has reached 17.7 million, up 10 percent from 2011 and 5 percent from 2012, according to MBO Partners Inc.’s recently released third annual State of Independence in America workforce study. The independent workforce is expected to grow to 24 million by 2018, according to the report.

The independent workers generated nearly $1.2 trillion in total income, which is growing 20 percent annually, according to the report.

“This year’s report shows the tremendous economic impact of independent workers, and validates that independence is more than a viable career path; it’s a job creation engine,” said Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners. “It’s not long until we see the reality that I predicted some years ago — a workforce split 50/50 between fixed and contingent workers.”

The 2013 MBO Partners Independent Workforce Index, a measure created to track the sector, shows an 8.2 percent growth since the base year in 2011.

Sixty-four percent of independent contractors reported that they are highly satisfied with their work style, a slight dip from 2012 but still higher than the 2011 baseline year. And 77 percent are committed to remaining independent.

  • 63 percent want to remain independent
  • 14 percent want to build or grow their independent business
  • 14 percent want to return to traditional employment

MBO Partners provides business services to independent contractors as well as independent contractor payrolling and compliance services for staffing buyers.

The report is based on two online surveys. One included 2,018 responses from residents of the U.S., which was used to size the independent workforce and define the interest in becoming an independent worker by the general population. The other included 2,024 responses from independent workers to profile their motivations and characteristics.


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