Quantifying the number of gig workers can be difficult, but researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research estimate they make up around 16% of the U.S. labor force. In 2016, Pew estimated that 24% of Americans earned income through applications like Uber or Lyft. A 2018 Boston Consulting Group study found that 40% of global executives expect gig workers to make up an increased share of their company’s workforce in the next 5 years
Tracking the number and nature of “irregular” work isn’t the only challenge facing the gig economy. These workers also face the prospect of sudden pay cuts engineered by algorithms to balance worker supply with consumer demand. The lack of benefits and certain worker rights are another issue, as evidenced by the recent passage of AB 5 in California.
Overall, what’s lacking is a broader ecosystem to facilitate gig work, ensuring workers receive proper protections and benefits.