It rarely comes with benefits, but hey; it pays! Elance, the online clearinghouse that puts employers and freelancers together, is reporting dramatic growth in the number of online jobs for the fourth quarter of 2010. We're talking about a 38% increase over the fourth quarter from the previous year. Overall the amount of money getting paid out on jobs has increased an average of 11% each quarter over the past year, as well.

The report's breakdown of trends is even more interesting.

1. If you're a mobile app developer, there's no reason for you to starve in this economy. App developers for the Android are seeing a 20% increase in demand for their services. Make that 15% for iPad and 10% for iPhone programmers.

2. Online marketing, specifically social media marketing, is the fastest growing segment on Elance. For example, the demand for Facebook programmers rose 23% in just one quarter.

3. Wordpress is the bomb when it comes to content management systems. In fact, skills in Wordpress are worth their weight in gold. It's the number two most desired expertise coveted by online employers, trailing only behind PHP.

4. Other interesting skill sets that made the top "Overall Skills in Demand" list: #12 English Translation, #16 Copyrighting, #14 iPhone, #98 Blackberry, #68 Email Handling, #90 Telephone Etiquette, #4 HTML, #52 HTML5, but #29 Flash. Hmmm...

5. When dealing with faceless online employers, you might want to start your emails with "Howdy". While New York City is still the capitol of contract labor doled out online, Texas has the most cities in the top ten list of online employers. Dallas and Austin probably come as no surprise. But Amarillo? Who knew? Could Cut and Shoot or Dime Box be next?