What is the ‘Gig Economy’ and Who Works In It?
Have you worked in the gig economy?
by Causes | 10.24.19
What is the “gig economy”?
The gig economy can be broadly understood to refer to work done by freelance and contract workers for a limited time or on a flexible schedule.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently published the first federal study of the gig economy and utilized a narrower definition that focused workers who find jobs and are paid by technology platforms, like Uber or TaskRabbit. The BLS found that there are 1.6 million full-time gig economy workers who fall under that definition, and they account for about 1% of the U.S. workforce.
What does the data say about gig economy workers?
The majority of gig economy workers, 72.4%, work full-time (defined as 35 hours per week), while 27.6% work part-time as this chart from USAFacts shows:
Gig economy workers are typically thought of as being self-employed, but 63% reported being employed an employee rather than a contractor. Of the self-employed gig economy workers, 80% don’t have a formal business entity established. (The Treasury Dept. estimated that $69 billion in taxes owed from gig work go uncollected.)
Sixty-two percent of gig economy workers do their work in person as opposed to 38% who work online. About one-in-20 gig economy workers do their work both in person and online.
While the gig economy generally mirrors the demographics of the overall economy, men are more likely than women to work in the gig economy, as this table from USAFacts shows:
Black workers make up a larger proportion of the gig economy workforce than the overall workforce:
A greater percentage of gig economy workers hold bachelor’s or advanced degrees than the overall workforce:
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Anatoliy Sizov)
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