Fiverr’s Annual Freelance Economic Impact Report Identifies Top 25 Skilled Freelance Markets in the U.S., Study Finds Freelancers in These Markets Generate $135 Billion Annually
Thursday June 20, 2019. 12:03 PM , from Digital Pro Sound
Austin and Nashville highlighted as the two fastest growing markets for skilled freelance workers
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fiverr International Ltd. (NYSE: FVRR), the company that is changing how the world works together, today revealed the findings of its annual Freelance Economic Impact Report, a comprehensive study that identifies and profiles the 25 largest markets in the United States for skilled freelance workers.
For the second year Fiverr commissioned market research firm Rockbridge Associates to analyze a range of secondary data sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, to determine the size and revenues of U.S. based skilled freelancers. Over 20 million tax returns were classified by geography and industry, allowing researchers to approximate that there are 5.6 million skilled freelancers working in creative, technical or professional positions across the country. Over half (54%) of these freelancers live in the 25 metropolitan areas listed below and, combined, this group generated an estimated $135 billion in the 2018 tax year.
New York home to over half a million freelancers earning estimated $25 billion
Los Angeles leading with creative freelancers generating $5 billion
Over six percent of San Francisco’s workforce employed as skilled freelancers
Austin experiencing talent boom, skilled freelancer population up almost 26%
Nashville increasing earnings, skilled freelancer revenue jumps almost 40%
“Highly-skilled freelancers are an understudied and often overlooked segment of the workforce,” said Brent Messenger, Fiverr’s VP of Public Policy and Community. “By analyzing the data around these digital workers we’re able to get a clear picture of the types of jobs they’re doing, the amount of revenue they’re generating and the cities in which they’re having the most impact,” he continued. “While every market identified in the top 25 is unique, we can say that they’re all characterized by high levels of diversity, high educational attainment and younger adult populations relative to the rest of the country,” he said.
Top 25 Markets for Skilled Freelance Workers
Market (Metropolitan Statistical Area)
Number of Skilled Freelance Workers
Revenues (000) (2018 Projected)
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Diego, CA
San Jose, CA
Emerging Hotbeds for Skilled Freelancers
Though not among the 25 most populated metro areas in the U.S., Austin and Nashville have emerged as thriving hubs of skilled freelance activity.
Austin is the fastest growing market in the U.S. as skilled freelancers have flocked to the area in large numbers. Austin’s skilled freelancer population increased 26% from 2011- 2016. Metro Austin is also the second-fastest growing market in terms of revenue, up 31% during the same period.
Nashville’s skilled freelance economy is also accelerating quickly. Number 1 in revenue growth, skilled freelancers in metro Nashville have seen their bottom line grow 39.8% over the period studied. Creative services dominate Nashville’s freelance economy, with creative freelancers accounting for a quarter of Nashville’s entire freelance workforce.
Major Markets Rely Heavily on Skilled Freelancers
Data from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco indicates the larger the economy the heavier the reliance on skilled freelancers.
The New York metro area sits atop the list with over half a million skilled freelance workers earning an estimated $25 billion in the 2018 tax year. The massive metro area is also home to the largest populations of professional and technical freelancers.
The exception to New York’s dominance is Los Angeles. The Los Angeles metro area is the overall revenue leader in creative talent. Creative freelancers in metro Los Angeles generated an estimated $5 billion in revenue in the 2018 tax year.
San Francisco businesses are the most reliant on skilled freelance workers. Skilled freelancers in San Francisco account for 6.1% of the city’s total workforce, this figure is almost double the national average.
“Across the United States, revenue from skilled freelance work represents 1.1% of national GDP, but in these top 25 markets that number can get as high as 2%,” said Charles Colby, Principal, Chief Methodologist and Founder of Rockbridge Associates. “It’s not only that these markets have higher than average revenues per skilled freelance worker. The implication is that their impact on local economies is greater because of their ability to draw revenue from outside their market and provide highly specialized services that are critical to growing local businesses,” he concluded.
The entire, Freelance Economic Impact Report can be found at: https://www.fiverr.com/freelance-impact.
Fiverr’s mission is to change how the world works together. The Fiverr platform connects businesses with freelancers offering digital services in more than 200 categories, across 8 verticals including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. Since inception, the platform has facilitated over 50 million transactions. Fiverr’s global community of freelancers spans across more than 160 countries.
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