The new digital economy in which more and more of us would be selling our time and skills to a host of clients via online “gig” platforms appears to be a myth according to Josh Zumbrun in the Wall Street Journal:
“The so-called gig economy barely registers in traditional labor-market data.”
Around one percent of Americans make money online. However, most of this involves selling products and services through sites like Etsy and Airbnb. More Americans – around 3 percent – have briefly flirted with gig sites like Fivrr or Elance, but very few earn enough to make it worth the effort. In fact, almost all of the people who make money from the gig economy do so driving for Uber.
“That’s not to say that nobody is earning money from those other sites, just that they seem to be gaining much less traction than Uber.”
In the meantime, almost all of the new jobs created in the US economy – many of them low-paid – have been in traditional employment:
“As documented in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, there’s been a large growth in tenuous work arrangements. But according to new research from Alan Krueger of Princeton University and Lawrence Katz of Harvard University, the growth has taken place largely offline—in traditional jobs and industries where a growing number of workers are in contract arrangements.”