Dec 10, 2023

Question of the Day: What percent of U.S. workers engage in gig, freelance, or temporary work?

A full-time job with one employer has been considered the norm for decades, but the number of people identifying as independent workers continues to increase.


Answer: 36%


  • What are examples of jobs that are gig, freelance, or temporary work? 
  • Would you ever consider gig, freelance, or temporary work? Describe the type of role that you would be interested in. 
  • Independent workers report higher economic anxiety than full-time workers. Why do you think this is the case? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the numbers (McKinsey):

"In the working world, a full-time job with one employer has been considered the norm for decades, but this model fails to describe how a significant share of the U.S. workforce makes a living. In the latest iteration of McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey (AOS), a remarkable 36 percent of employed respondents—equivalent to 58 million Americans when extrapolated from the representative sample—identify as independent workers. This figure represents a notable increase since we estimated the U.S. independent workforce in 2016 at 27 percent of the employed population.

Independent workers perform many types of jobs, including working a short-term placement through a temporary agency, tutoring, driving passengers, delivering food or other products, short-term renting personal property, creative jobs such as acting or writing, and substitute teaching. In our survey, we counted anyone who identified as a contract, freelance, temporary, or gig worker as an independent worker.1 In some cases, respondents hold full-time jobs but also engage in a “side hustle."



Want to experience what it's like to have one of the more popular gig economy jobs? Find out with this Uber driver simulation


Attend NGPF Professional Developments and earn Academy Credits on your own time! Check out NGPF On-Demand modules!


About the Author

Mason Butts

After graduating from UCLA with a Master's in Education, Mason spent 5 years as a science educator in a South Los Angeles public high school. He is committed to supporting the holistic growth of all students and empowering them to live a life of relational, academic, and financial success. Now settled in the Bay Area, Mason enjoys facilitating professional developments and partnering with educators as they prepare students for a bright financial future. When Mason is not building curriculum or planning a training, he can be found cycling, trying new foods, and exploring the outdoors.

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