10 Impressive Gig Economy Statistics to Know in 2021

Some say the gig economy is booming, some say it’s declining. Learn the complex truth about the gig economy from statistics and research from 2021 aggregated from multiple independent sources.

Gig economy statistics are important because they provide hard evidence on the state of the gig economy. Here are 10 gig economy statistics that every entrepreneur should know and understand.

The 330,000 new jobs added last month is a sharp deceleration from the 680,000 added in June and the lowest total since February (ADP) — many Americans will be forced to take on new means of making a living.

The gig economy is growing bigger by the day, and a lot of Americans are turning to it as an alternative to full-time work. After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many job seekers will likely turn to the gig economy in order to get by.

That is why we are researching the most interesting gig economy statistics to better acquaint you with this growing trend.

What is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is a method for gig workers working that does not rely on day-to-day employment, but rather on short-term jobs.

Gig economy statistics indicate that there are at least 57.3 million Americans who have already turned to the gig economy as a means of making money.

The gig economy is made up of workers who do temporary jobs. This is a growing trend that has become a sub-sector of the economy as more businesses and workplaces rely on freelancers instead of permanent employees.

Gigs Done Right

The gig economy is an excellent way to earn extra money, especially for Millennials. There are several companies offering such opportunities including Uber, Lyft, Postmates, DoorDash, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, and other gig economy apps.

How big is the gig economy?

According to the most recent and reliable data, there are now 57 million gig workers in the US economy, accounting for 36% of all US employees.

Why is the gig economy growing?

There are several reasons why the gig economy thrives. On one hand, individuals, particularly younger ones, appear to prefer freelancing over full-time employment since it provides them with greater flexibility and independence. Non-traditional employment, particularly through leading gig economy platforms, enables them to pick their own hours, place of employment, and clients.

At the same time, firms may profit from having a flexible workforce since they spend less money on training and recruitment, don’t have to pay for medical coverage, and can replace their staff more easily if required.

Why Are Millennials So Interested in the Gig Economy?

Millennials are leaving campus and entering the real world as they graduate, but a significant portion of them realize that their college majors and degrees aren’t going to help them earn enough money with wages stagnant in the US workforce. While Millennials have always been interested in entrepreneurship, now more than ever there is an opportunity for them with these gig economy jobs.

Millennials are realizing that they can make a lot of money potentially using the skills they learned in college, but packaging them up in an area that is not as saturated with competition.

Millennials are texting on smartphones more than ever before, and it’s paying off for them by increasing their earning power with gig jobs.

Millennials realize that they are going to have more responsibilities in the future so they need to make money now, and that’s why they’re interested in making money through the gig economy.

As of today, there are more than 57.3 million Americans working in the gig economy, according to Statista. It is projected that by 2023, more than half (52%) of the US workforce will either be gig economy workers or have worked independently at some point in their career.

The high earning potential in the gig economy makes it easy to convince friends and family to join such freelancer platforms. Even if they have traditional employment or full-time employees working in retail or as teachers, doctors, lawyers or college students, there is a spot for everyone in this ecosystem.

Understanding the Gig Economy

The gig economy isn’t an entirely new concept, but many companies are starting to recognize its value as it becomes more mainstream.

The word “gig” is defined as a short-term job or task on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. These gigs can range from $5 for writing a blog post to $100 for designing a website.

Gig Economy Statistics

There are many gig economy stats in the United States that help to paint the picture of how successful this sector of work is becoming. For example, it is estimated that by 2021, more than 40% of jobs will be in the gig economy. Also by some estimates, about a quarter of all workers will be freelancers.

The following stats show how big the gig economy has become:

1. 57.3 million people freelance in the U.S. It’s estimated that by 2027 there will be 86.5 million freelancers.

(Upwork)

The modern economy is suffering from a lack of jobs, and the freelancing industry has skyrocketed as an alternative. In just 10 years time it’s expected that about 40% of America will be freelance workers.

2. 36% of U.S. workers participate in the gig economy through either their primary or secondary jobs.

(Gallup)

From the same study, it was found that 36% of workers in America are involved with gig work. This includes both their primary and secondary jobs which translates to an even higher percentage than before!

The type of gigs these people take on is also very diverse: from freelance writing and graphic design to driving for Uber or Instacart deliveries. The variety means there’s something out there no matter what skill set you have!

Besides not having a traditional 9-5 job, gig workers can make more money per task because they’re completely flexible when deciding how much time they want to spend doing them instead of working at one company all day long; but some drawbacks include high taxes due diligence since each state has its own rules surrounding this issue as well.

3. For 44% of gig workers, their work in the gig economy is their primary source of income.

(Edison Research)

The gig economy is not just a way to make some extra cash on the side; it has become for many, their primary source of income. Roughly 44% of all workers in the gig economy are making that claim as well according to this research from Edison Research.

The number may come as no surprise given how rapidly these types of jobs have grown over time and with technological advances like smartphones enabling even more remote work opportunities than before.

Workers can find gigs through websites such as Hustler Gigs or Upwork which connect them directly with employers who need help completing various tasks ranging in both complexity and duration–from simple errands (think grocery shopping) or quick data entry projects up to full-time positions including graphic design artists working remotely for clients around the world.

4. Nearly 60% of independent gig workers consider their working conditions to be flexible.

(Forbes)

According to Forbes, nearly 60% of gig workers consider their working conditions flexible. Some feel this way because they are able to choose when and where they work. While others find the need for flexibility as a result of an unpredictable schedule or other obligations that make it hard for them to commit fully in one place at any given time.

5. The main reason people look for jobs in the gig market is to attain better work-life balance, with 70% of freelance survey respondents confirming this.

(FlexJobs)

Freelancers are fed up with the burden of a 9-to-5 workday and want more flexibility in their schedules. A whopping 70% confirmed this feeling, proving that it’s not just millennials who need better quality time outside of employment to do what they really love or even simply decompress after an exhausting day at work.

Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular for those seeking a better balance between life and career commitments. Among full-time freelancers surveyed, over half said that being able to choose when they take on projects was one reason why freelance gigs appealed so much more than traditional office jobs.

5. 1 in 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to become a primary independent earner.

(McKinsey)

Some of the most common reasons why people would like to become primary earners include wanting to have more control over their schedules, some may want a career change, while others might just feel they need financial security.

1 in 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to go full-time on their own business ventures and be independent from employers entirely. This is not always easy because there can often be many risks involved with starting your own company such as lack of experience or knowledge about how things work outside one’s comfort zone at an established job.

But for those who do decide it’s worth taking that risk, you will reap the rewards later by feeling less restricted when going into new situations where having money makes all the difference between success and failure.

6. 55% of gig workers also maintain full-time or regular jobs.

(PYMNTS)

Of the gig workers surveyed, a majority – 55% – also have regular jobs. What that means for employers is an increase in qualified applicants and more competitive salaries to keep up with demand.

The findings of this survey show that most gig laborers can’t live on just what they make from their gigs alone-they’re still having to work “traditional” hours as well.

Many people who work in a service industry are juggling two different types of professions at once: one being their main profession while the other is only temporary employment for now. The most popular type of side job these days has been with services like Uber or Task Rabbit where you can make your own hours and still work a regular 9 to 5 job.

7. 19% say the main reason they have a gig job is to make extra money or cover day-to-day expenses.

(PYMNTS)

When you’re struggling financially and don’t know what to do with your life, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to the gig economy. It is a great way of making extra money or even covering day-to-day expenses while figuring things out.

The survey found that 19% of respondents have gig jobs because they want more cash on hand during either periods where their income doesn’t match up well or when emergencies arise and need quick financial assistance.

19% say the main reason they rely on gigs as opposed to traditional full-time employment opportunities are due mostly (or solely) so that they can make ends meet before circumstances improve again financially.

8. Deloitte’s latest millennial study found that 64% of full-time workers want to do “side hustles” to make extra money.

(Deloitte)

For many millennials, work isn’t enough. 64% of full-time workers want to do “side hustles” on the side, according to a recent Deloitte study. These side gigs are typically small projects that offer extra money or experience outside one’s career path and can include freelancing for services like Uber Eats or dog walking with Rover in your spare time.

Deloitte’s latest millennial survey reveals that while most people enjoy their jobs and take time off from work during vacations, many still feel like there is something more out there waiting for them outside the office walls – be it traveling or earning some additional income on top of what they already make!

9. Gig economy statistics by race: 74.6% of all contingent workers are white.

(USA Facts)

The gig economy is often thought of as a new phenomenon, but it’s actually been around for centuries. In the past few decades, we’ve seen its growth skyrocket on account of technology and globalization. The way that this has impacted different races in America has revealed some interesting patterns: 74% are White Americans who work independently, 17% are African American workers whose labor participation rate remains low. Hispanics make up 16%, while Asians comprise an a low of 5.8%.

These numbers don’t add to 100 because many people have multiethnic backgrounds within their ethnicities- meaning there was never just one race to begin with! The Gig Economy continues to grow over time despite what you might think from hearing politicians talk or reading mainstream media articles.

10. More than half of gig workers don’t have access to employer-provided benefits (54%).

(Prudential)

In light of the growing gig economy, more individuals are going to be uninsured and uninsurable. According to Prudential’s study, 54% of independent contractors have no access to benefits through their employer or group coverage plan like a professional association; 40% can only get medical insurance for themselves if they’re married to someone who has it; 25% have dental insurance available but only 5% have access to life insurance despite the high risk involved in working independently.

The Factors of a Gig Economy

The factors of the gig economy include flexibility, meaning workers are always looking for additional ways to increase their income. Being able to work at home in a flexible schedule allows many workers the opportunity to make extra cash on the side of their usual job. It’s not easy juggling 2 jobs on top of already being tired from your first job, but with gig work, you can work when you want to. It’s easier to manage your time, and with gig sites like Upwork, it’s easy to find ways of making additional income if you have the skillset for a particular job.

Gig economy jobs are usually categorized under “side hustles.” Side hustles are jobs that make extra income on the side of your usual job. It is also sometimes used to describe a second job to supplement one’s regular income.

You can get started with gig sites like Upwork, or Freelancer, there are many platforms out there for you! It’s just a matter of finding the gigs that interest you and bringing your skillset to the table.

Criticisms of the Gig Economy

With the growing popularity of the gig economy, critics are becoming more prevalent. There’s nothing wrong with earning some extra money on the side, but critics argue that it is taking away from traditional full-time employment opportunities.

In a recent article by The Economist, they highlighted this issue and stated that “companies have been able to raise profits by cutting the number of workers they hire—and replacing full-time staff with part-time contractors and temporary workers, who now account for 20% of America’s workforce.”

As the gig economy continues to grow, it may ultimately be a hot topic for politicians’ campaigns as they address concerns over jobs that are lost due to automation and artificial intelligence.

Regardless of what the future may have in store, I believe it is important to take a positive approach to earning extra income on the side. It’s also important to understand that traditional full-time jobs aren’t going away so quickly, but we may see more opportunities and flexibility as technology continues to advance our way of life and improve productivity.

In the future, I believe we will see a shift from traditional full-time employment to more gig-type work. How that comes about is unclear at this point. In many respects, it may just be a matter of having an open mind for what opportunities are presented to us, and then determining if those opportunities align with our particular skillset.

Brian Meiggs
Brian is the founder of Gigs Done Right and has tried every side hustle under the sun. He teaches people just like you how to make money in the gig economy and has been featured in Yahoo! Finance, NASDAQ, Discover and more. He normally shares the latest news, videos, and topics for gig workers so they can earn more money in the gig economy.

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WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

Are you looking for a way to earn some extra money to help reach your financial goals? You’re not alone. More than 44 million Americans have a side job. If you want a flexible side job, consider this resource of high-paying side job ideas that can help you generate some extra cash.

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