There are 17.7 million people in the U.S. working at least half-time as an independent contractor, and that number will climb to 24 million by 2018, according to MBO Partners’ third annual State of Independence in America workforce study, released this week.
The number of Americans working as independent contractors this year is up 10 percent from 2011 and 5 percent from 2012, according to the study.
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, which produced the report.
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
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.
The following infographic highlights the demographics of the IC population. Click to enlarge.