New Study Shows Freelancers Thriving as Unemployment Rate Remains High

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Detailed report from International Freelancers Day unearths surprising economic and attitudinal information about the growing independent workforce in the U.S. and abroad

2011 Freelance Industry Report

Download a free copy of the 2011 Freelance Industry Report

According to the study, 40 percent of freelancers command $50 to $99 per hour. And 17 percent earn $100 or more per hour.

As millions of workers remain unemployed, an often-ignored segment of the workforce is not only growing, it's actually thriving. That is one of the key findings in the 2011 Freelance Industry Report released this week by International Freelancers Day, the world's largest free online conference exclusively for solo professionals. The report can be downloaded free at http://www.InternationalFreelancersDay.com/2011report.

According to the report, 52 percent of freelancers have not been negatively impacted by the economic downturn or have felt only a very minor impact. Moreover, the 53-page report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,200 freelancers, revealed that 78 percent of self-employed service providers are optimistic about their prospects over the next 12 months.

"The remarkable thing about these figures is that you'd be hard-pressed to find any information about this rapidly growing segment of the workforce and how they are faring in this economy," says Ed Gandia, the report's author and co-founder of International Freelancers Day. "In fact, there is little published information about independent workers. And no one is really talking about the millions of professionals in fields as diverse as engineering, Web design, business consulting or software development who are earning a great living and enjoying a more balanced lifestyle."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-third of the U.S. workforce was independent or contingent in 2005, the last time these numbers were compiled. That number has only grown over the last six years as organizations everywhere have downsized to cope with a difficult economy. "Organizations are hiring a growing amount of freelance talent in order to staff key projects and initiatives more cost effectively and with less risk," says Gandia.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that freelancers are being taken advantage of. According to the study, 40 percent of freelancers command $50 to $99 per hour. And 17 percent earn $100 or more per hour.

"For most independent professionals, the freelance path is not just an economic decision — it's also a lifestyle choice," says Gandia. "That's why 59 percent of survey respondents said they were happier now than they were before going solo. And 54 percent even said they wouldn't consider working as an employee again, regardless of what the job paid or what it entailed."

The report also examined the earning patterns, habits and attitudes of "accidental" freelancers — professionals who are freelancing as a direct result of having been downsized. It also analyzed earnings differences, top challenges and attitudes across professions, genders and regions of the world.

Packed with more than 70 color charts and diagrams, the report gives readers a fascinating and detailed look into the world of freelancing.

Download a free copy of the 2011 Freelance Industry Report at http://www.InternationalFreelancersDay.com/2011report.

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