Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) discusses MBO’s “State of Independent” report and its report that the number of independent workers fell during the pandemic but are expected to bounce back.
The number of independent workers fell in 2020 as the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis took its toll, according to “The State of Independence in America 2020” report released today by MBO Partners. Still, the numbers are expected to rebound as the US economy returns to growth. Independent workers’ numbers had steadily increased in the six years of tracking both full- and part-time data by the annual report; MBO first started tracking full-time independent workers 10 years ago.
Independent workers’ numbers fell 7% in 2020 to a total of 38.2 million from a total of 41.1 million in 2019.
The decline is expected to be temporary as independents’ numbers have grown over the past 10 years.
“Independent work has grown from a novelty to a mainstream way of working,” said Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners. “We’ve reached an important inflection point in the American workforce, where workers not only desire to control their own careers, but businesses increasingly realize that accessing top talent and skills means needing to re-think how they structure their workforces and that in order to be competitive, they must leverage independent professionals as part of this modern business model.”
Independent workers included consultants, freelancers, contractors, solopreneurs, microbusiness owners, temporary and on-call workers.
According to the report, those independent workers who provide services to consumers — Uber drivers for example — have felt the most pain. The number of those workers fell 34% to 10.5 million in 2020 from 15.9 million in 2019.