Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Tracking the Growth of the 'Gig Economy' in U.S. Cities

The Brookings Institute thinks it has found a way to measure the impact of the expanding 'gig economy'—i.e., freelancing work enabled by online platforms like Airbnb and Uber.
October 16, 2016, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Ian Hathaway and Mark Muro author a post examining the proliferation of the so-called gig economy in cities around the country. Despite so much attention paid to apps like Airbnb, Uber, and more, writes Hathaway and Muro, "it’s still hard to get a handle on the size and importance of either those particular platforms or the larger 'gig economy.'"

"However, it turns out that for all of the limitations of the available data, additional light can in fact be thrown on the online gig economy," according to the article. To do so, Hathaway and Muro called on "an obscure Census Bureau dataset on 'nonemployer firms,' which tracks the activity of 'businesses' that earn at least $1,000 per year in gross revenues (or $1 in construction) but employ no workers." 

The findings of their analysis reveal a significant and fast growing gig economy, specifically in peer-to-peer ride-sharing and peer-to-peer room-sharing. Another finding of their analysis: "platform-based freelancing is not yet substantially displacing payroll employment," though the authors admit that could change. Finally, their analysis finds that online gigging is mostly concentrated in urban areas.

The article includes a lot more detail and some very nifty infographics to help illustrate its points.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, October 10, 2016 in Brookings
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email