Amarillo: Hotbed of Freelancers, and Other Outsourcing Surprises From 2010

cowboy boots Workers in Amarillo, Texas collectively earned the fourth-largest amount of money of any city in the U.S. from gigs they found via the job-posting site Elance. That's just one of the interesting employment trends discovered by the freelance talent sourcing site in its 2010 Year in Review.

The top earning city was New York, followed by Los Angeles and Portland. San Francisco was seventh, Austin was ninth and Franklin, TN (population 41,000 and hometown of teen pop princess Miley Cyrus) came in at number 10.

Elance says 375,000 jobs were posted to the site in 2010, up 40 percent from the previous year. That makes sense. As employers loosened their purse strings and contemplated taking on talent again, the idea of bringing in people on a project basis—who could also be let go in a heartbeat—was probably less daunting than the idea of hiring full-time employees.

Among the hot markets: mobile application development. Postings for mobile jobs increased 98 percent overall, the company said, with jobs for iPhone development up 35 percent and jobs for Google App Engine development up 32 percent. Elance says these trends presage a shift toward "mobile first, desktop second," in which companies will focus on building apps before they think about building out their websites.

Among Elance’s other predictions:

  • Traditional marketing is on the decline.

The site saw a 10 percent decrease in postings for people with direct marketing skills and a six percent decrease in telemarketing-related jobs. On the flip side, it saw a 53 percent increase in Search Engine Marketing jobs and a 60 percent increase in Affiliate Marketing jobs.

  • Flash is not dead yet.

The demand for Flash programmers is still high, Elance says, thanks in part to the continued growth of the casual gaming industry. Still, demand for HTML5 programmers is growing "exponentially," the company says. In 2010, Elance saw a 31 percent increase in postings for programmers with those skills.

On a typical day, about 1,600 jobs are posted and 1,000 people hired on Elance, the company says. Collectively, freelancers earn about $300,000 a day from the gigs they get on the site, or about $100 million a year.

[Image: Flickr user Dudley Carr]

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