I recently received Elance’s monthly ezine, Elancer. Normally, I’d just delete it on first sight (makes me wonder why I’m still subscribed, but I’m not the best at weeding out…that’s one of Alyssa’s areas of expertise), but the subject line (aka headline) grabbed my attention, and I just had to open it.

The subject line read: “50,000 Jobs Posted This Month – Demand Up 40%.” Now, being kind of a numbers/stats geek, these types of figures aroused my curiosity…

What do these numbers mean, if anything?

First, let me just say that I am taking Elance’s numbers as fact. I am not verifying their accuracy nor am I naïve to their main use, as a marketing tool. However, in this recession that seems to be dragging out much longer than ever anticipated, numbers like this cannot be ignored.

On one side of the coin, if you are a freelancer, more jobs posted mean more jobs that you could potentially win and bring in some income. This is a very welcome sign during a time when it seems that every business has pulled back from expanding their workforce.

On the other side of the coin, it would appear that small businesses, which are always the first businesses to show some life in a recovery, are ramping up again. While small businesses may not be hiring employees, posting jobs to freelance sites such as Elance could be a sign that they may be more optimistic about their near-term prospects.

Are these numbers just an anomaly or are they the start of a trend that could signal something bigger? While we can’t answer that question now, it does merit our attention to what future months bring.

If you’re a freelancer, what have your experiences been so far this year? Have you seen an increase in opportunities?

If you’re a small business owner, are you outsourcing more work? If so, why?

Image credit: rams_on