US freelance work amounted to $1.27 trillion in 2023: Report


Freelance work accounted for over one-third of the work performed in the US in 2023, per a report from Upwork. These independent contractors contributed more than $1.27 trillion to the economy, with influencer content making up 23% of that amount.

Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita and Rachelle Akuffo discuss the details.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Angel Smith

Video Transcript

[THEME MUSIC PLAYING]

The gig economy is on, the up and up. More than 1/3 of workers performing freelance work in 2023, that’s according to an Upwork report. And gig workers contributed more than $1.2 trillion to the US economy last year.

Rachelle, I guess the key here is that they performed freelance work, so it doesn’t mean they were freelancing full-time. But the number that stood out to me in this report, 23% of all freelancers, 14.7 million professionals, created influencer content, like livestream services, social media videos. So the question I have is, is it just that there’s more platforms out there that allow you to freelance, or is it about flexibility?

RACHELLE AKUFFO: I mean, you figure it’s got to be about a bit of both and also trying to keep up with the cost of living, as well, because as you mentioned, it might not be that these people are doing freelance work as their permanent gigs. It could be a little bit of something on the side to perhaps supplement their salaries.

I thought it was interesting that they contributed $1.27 trillion in annual earnings. So it makes you wonder, though, how much of this is being reflected in the jobs numbers? I mean, I think during COVID, it was easier to hide if you had a second or third job when you were working remotely and nobody knew. But as people are returning to the office, it’s getting a little bit more difficult to balance these things.

But I thought it was interesting that you’re also seeing a lot of these well-paying jobs don’t– they’re not the traditional ones that we all thought of growing up. You mentioned the influencer economy. Even on indeed.com’s top jobs, their top job that they have on there, it doesn’t require a degree, a loan officer, $192,000.

So these are things– and most of the phrasing was either hybrid or remote. So there is a lot more flexibility now, and I mean, good, people are taking advantage of it to cover their costs.

It’s time to find a side hustle.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: We’ll see. I have to figure out what I’m good at, other than this, of course.



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