The Gig Economy

By: Daniel Steingold | May 06, 2016

The gig economy is a small, but rapidly growing sector of employment for Americans. But what exactly is the gig economy?

The gig economy is comprised of individuals who use online platforms to find freelance work. Sites that provide gig opportunities range from ones that exclusively offer gigs (Taskrabbit) to ones that simply offer gig listings as a single part of their services (Craigslist).

Many online platforms have begun to form an exclusive brand around the gig services they offer— think Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft.

Nevertheless, those who depend upon gigs as their primary source of income are a miniscule percentage of the population: 0.5%, to be exact. However, Alan Kreuger, a preeminent economist, has recently gone on the record to say that the sector “has grown remarkably rapidly.”

Part of the reason that the gig economy has gotten so much press is due to controversy over how gigs should be classified.

For example, are gig employees independent contractors or employees? A prominent legal case over this issue involving Uber has made the news in the last few months.

Another issue with the gig economy has simply been whether gig workers make enough money. It has been reported that workers on Taskrabbit make $2,500 a month on average, which is less than the average monthly income in the U.S. of $3,500.

Either way, it appears as if the gig economy is here to stay. The U.S. government recognizes this trend; gig workers will be part of the official jobs figures by March 2017.

What do you think? Are you, or are you considering becoming, part of the gig economy?

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