Jun 7, 2024 - News

Atlanta's freelance economy hums but earnings trail large U.S. metros

Line chart showing annual freelance earnings in the Atlanta metro area by service offered from 2011 to 2023. Overall, freelancers in Atlanta earned an estimated $39k in 2023, compared to $33k in 2011. Technical services earned $55k, professional services earned $37k, and creative services earned $24k in 2023.
Data: Census Bureau via Fiverr; Note: Analysis includes tax returns for non-employer entities with at least $1,000 in annual receipts; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Atlanta has one of the country's biggest freelance workforces, but it can be tough to make a living here when you're your own boss.

State of play: Atlanta sits in the middle of the pack among the 30 largest metro areas when it comes to freelancer wages, according to an exclusive new report from the freelance platform Fiverr.

  • The average annual earnings in Atlanta are $39,205, up from $34,470 in 2020.
  • That's well below San Jose, California; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Nashville, Tennessee, where freelancers make about $55,000 or more per year.

Yes, but: Metro Atlanta is a rising tech hub, the report notes, and a top 10 market for professional and technical markets.

  • The region has the seventh-largest number of freelance workers, and ranks ninth in terms of total revenues ($7.1 billion).

State of play: The country's freelancers seem a generally optimistic bunch, with 55% expecting to earn more this year than in 2023, according to a survey.

The big picture: Freelancers account for 4.1% of the U.S. labor force, per the report.

  • Of them, 29% also have a traditional job; the share who solely freelance hit 71% in 2023, compared to 61% in 2021.
  • A "striking" 75% of freelancers with a full-time gig say they're highly satisfied with their side hustle, per the report, compared to just 47% who feel the same way about their day jobs.

Zoom in: In Atlanta, freelancers in technical fields made the most at $55,062, followed by the professional sector at $36,552 and creative ventures at $24,289, the report states.

What they're saying: "We are in our seventh year of putting this report together, and year over year, we see more and more people choosing the freelance lifestyle," writes Fiverr founder and CEO Micha Kaufman.

The bottom line: Freelancing has challenges of its own, but a regular 9-5 simply isn't the only way to thrive anymore.

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