Gig, no gig
The number of Americans working in the ‘gig economy’ will rise from the current 3.9 million, to 9.2 million by 2021, according to forecasts from Intuit and Emergent Research. The researchers says the rise of the on-demand economy is part of a broader long-term growth trend in the contingent workforce, which has spiked from 17% of the US employment roster 25 years ago, to 36% today, and is expected to hit 43% by 2020.
However, the gig economy model remains controversial socially as it appears to benefit the middle- rather than the working-class.
Two-thirds of those working on-demand report having variable monthly incomes, while two-fifths say that financial hardship – eg job loss, a medical problem, or unexpected major expense – has impacted them in the past year. That compares to just 18% of all Americans responding to a recent US Federal Reserve survey.
But many people lean on on-demand economy work to either develop a new business, or to supplement and expand an existing business, with 37% already owning a firm, and 21% want to build a business.
Image: Steve Mullins