Skilled freelance workers have more options than ever. And as more organizations use the services of freelancers, it has become the norm. But freelancers can also choose where to work. And companies large and small now have a certain percentage of freelancers in their workforce. So where are freelancers making the most money?
Fiverr Annual Freelance Economic Impact Report
According to Fiverr’s Annual Freelance Economic Impact Report , New York and Los Angeles still hold the number one and two positions respectively. And this has been the case since Fiverr started collecting the data about freelancers in 2011.
They are the top two cities in the creative, technical and professional fields. And freelancers earn a total of $25,327,806,896 in New York and $19,221,367,901 Los Angeles. But both cities also have the highest freelancer populations. And that amounts to 559,180 in New York and 420,300 in Los Angeles. So, it is not surprising they have the highest revenue.
Fiverr selected the top 25 skilled freelance  markets in the U.S by teaming up with Rockbridge Associates, an independent research firm, to do the report. Freelancers or independent workers were identified on the type of work being done, and on the type of professionals.
Groups include creative arts/performances featuring artists, writers, graphic designers, performers, video and sound professionals. Technical services include data processing, architecture, design, engineering, computer/IT, and scientific professions. And professional services include legal, accounting/bookkeeping, management consulting, marketing, and business support.
Some of the data Rockbridge analyzed comes from over 20 million tax returns of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Non-Employer Statistics.
Why Study Highly-Skilled Freelancers?
As a group, highly skilled freelancers are often overlooked and understudied. So this makes one good argument for the study says Brent Messenger, Fiverr’s VP of Public Policy and Community. In the press release Messenger goes on to say, “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.”
The impact of freelancers have on the economy is considerable, amounting to 1.1% of national GDP. And in some of the top 25 markets, it can get as high as 2%. This according to Charles Colby, Principal, Chief Methodologist and Founder of Rockbridge Associates.
Colby adds, “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.” This is especially true for small businesses.
While local small businesses may not be able to afford these highly skilled workers on a permanent basis, freelancers make it possible to carry out one-off projects affordably.
As mentioned earlier NY and LA are the top cities in terms of revenue and the largest population of professional and technical freelancers.
New York was number one in technical and professional services, while Los Angeles is the leader in creative services.
Although San Francisco is in the number six position, it relies on skilled freelance workers more than any other city. With freelancers accounting for 6.1% of the total workforce in the city, which the study says is double the national average.
The three smallest markets are Minneapolis, San Diego, and Seattle. and they all have between 78,000 and 90,000 specialized independent professionals. The study reveals cities with a population of 3.5 to 4.5 million people have similar number of skilled freelancers.
Here the top 25 cities in terms of revenue from the Annual Freelance Economic Impact report, :
- New York City $25,327,806,896
- Los Angeles $19,221,367,901
- San Francisco $8,416,103,382
- Washington, D.C. $8,082,337,397
- Chicago $6,797,252,616
- Miami $6,442,678,226
- Dallas $6,378,848,488
- Boston $5,738,286,373
- Philadelphia $5,171,786,951
- Atlanta $4,715,018,222
- Houston $4,114,778,786
- San Diego $3,562,767,933
- Seattle $3,393,685,644
- Phoenix $3,219,611,664
- Denver $2,920,211,545
- Minneapolis $2,727,113,086
- San Jose $2,722,582,145
- Austin $2,699,265,975
- Detroit $2,569,771,052
- Nashville $2,489,932,163
- Baltimore $2,093,895,409
- Portland $2,021,104,607
- Riverside $2,001,661,107
- Tampa $1,829,359,366
- Orlando $1,503,507,523