U.S. Skilled Freelancers Are Estimated to Have Earned $234 Billion in 2020, According to Fiverr’s Freelance Economic Impact Report
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE) – Fiverr International Ltd. (NYSE: FVRR), the company that is changing the way the world works, today released its fourth annual Freelance Economic Impact Report, a comprehensive study identifying and profiling the largest markets in the US for professionals. Working with Rockbridge Associates, the report analyzes secondary data sources, including the US Census Bureau, to determine the size and revenue of skilled freelancers in the United States. The Nonemployer Statistics series, based on a review of over 20 million tax returns, shows that there are over 6 million skilled freelancers in the United States in creative, technical or professional positions and estimated sales of $ 234 billion in 2020 achieve.
“2020 was a challenging year, but also a year that pushed the digital workforce to heights that we could never have imagined. For skilled freelancers, the pandemic exacerbated the difference between those who previously chose to work offline and those who had their eyes opened to online opportunities, ”said Micha Kaufman, CEO at Fiverr. “The numbers don’t lie and it is now clear to everyone that this type of work is a viable career choice for millions of people across the country. Independent work is no longer a part of the workforce that can be ignored. ”
Qualified freelancer trends in the USA
Skilled freelancers are here to stay in a post-pandemic world. More than six in ten (63%) qualified independents believe their industry has not been affected or that the pandemic has given them more opportunities. Three quarters of skilled independents (75%) are more hopeful than concerned about the future of skilled independent work.
Freelance work offers a sustainable source of income in times of high unemployment. Six in ten (59%) qualified independents said their earnings in 2020 were the same or higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. Eight in ten (80%) qualified independents expect to achieve the same or more in 2021 compared to 2020.
Freelance work offers freedom and flexibility at work and wherever qualified independents live. Eight in ten (79%) qualified independents believe that their work gives them the freedom to live wherever they want and to choose when and where to work.
Online platforms help freelancers stay competitive. Four in ten (41%) freelancers who use online platforms say their sales have increased compared to pre-pandemic, as opposed to just one in five (19%) non-users. More than half (57%) believe that they will generate more income in 2021 compared to 2020, while only four in ten (41%) of those who do not use the marketplaces believe the same.
High-speed internet and friendly people make a community attractive for freelancers. Almost all (92%) qualified independents report that high-speed internet is available in their community, and more than three-quarters (77%) believe that their community has friendly people. Similarly, three quarters (76%) of qualified independents are located in communities where they are close to their customers.
Shifts in major markets for skilled independent workers
Miami overtakes Chicago to become the third largest market for skilled independents. In Miami, which ranks 7th in the total population, the number of skilled independent workers grew more than 10 percent in just one year from 2017 to 2018, the last year for which data from the Census Bureau is available. That surge resulted in it outperforming Chicago and becoming the third-largest market by number of employees in 2018, with nearly 200,000 employees, a lead it stuck to in our 2020 projections. In comparison, Miami’s total population grew by 0.4% from 2017 to 2018, on a par with the US as a whole.
Warm weather markets are heating up for skilled independent workers. In addition to Miami, which overtook Chicago, other warm weather markets climbed the rankings in 2018 (the final year for which data is available from the Census Bureau). In terms of revenue, Phoenix surpassed Seattle, Las Vegas overtook Baltimore, and Riverside climbed over Portland. In all three markets that have risen in rank, sales growth was driven by creative and professional services. In fact, from 2013 to 2018, Riverside was the fourth fastest growing creative revenue market at 53 percent, while Las Vegas was fifth for revenue growth in professional services at 43 percent. Also, San Diego and Phoenix have ousted Minneapolis in terms of workforce size.
Creative professionals in Los Angeles and New York City achieved combined sales of nearly $ 11 billion in 2020. Los Angeles and New York City remain the two top markets for creative professionals, each with well over 100,000 employees. New York creative professionals had sales of over $ 5 billion, while Los Angeles actually had nearly $ 1 billion ($ 5.9 billion) in sales with these workers. Nashville only has about 20,000 creative professionals, but it is the only other market where those workers combined make at least $ 1 billion.
Hilary Ross-Rojas, Director of Research at Rockbridge Associates, added: “Qualified freelancers are very satisfied with their freelance work, more so than traditionally employed, and add to their optimism for the future and are great given the adverse economic conditions of the past year satisfied. They have big plans for the future after the pandemic, with new marketing and new offerings, plus more education and training to help their business grow, and we look forward to expanding our understanding of this population with Fiverr in the years to come. ”
The Top 30 Cities in Fiverr’s Professional Economic Impact Report, in Order of Fastest Population Growth for Qualified Independents, are: Orlando, FL; Nashville, TN; Miami, Florida; Austin, TX; Tampa, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Portland, OR; Houston, Texas; Riverside, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, California; San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; New York, NY; Sacramento, CA; Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; St. Louis, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA; Detroit, MI; Chicago, Illinois; San Jose, CA; Minneapolis, MN
For more information and the full report, visit fiverr.com/freelance-impact.
Fiverr’s mission is to change the way the world works together. For over 10 years, the Fiverr platform has been leading the future of work connecting businesses of all sizes with skilled freelancers providing digital services in more than 500 categories across 9 industries including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. In the twelve months ended March 31, 2021, over 3.8 million customers purchased a wide range of services from freelancers in more than 160 countries. We invite you to become part of the future of work by visiting us at fiverr.com, reading our blog and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.