How much people really make in the ‘gig economy’


Washington Post, Sep 24, 2018

The “gig economy” has been hailed as a major disruption to the American workforce, as sites such as Uber, Airbnb and Etsy offer workers new ways to make money and work a flexible schedule. But a new report offers a stark reminder that it’s not likely to replace the full-time job anytime soon.

In the reportreleased Monday, the JPMorgan Chase Institute, a unit of the global bank, found that the majority of people who earn income from what it calls the “online platform economy” are active on such sites only three months or less a year. The average monthly earnings was just $828 in 2017, a 20 percent increase over 2013 but still only enough income to be considered a supplementary source. And although earnings from such sites represent a major source of income during the months they participate, it makes up just 20 percent of income for those who participated at any point in the prior year, underscoring the uneven ways the “gig economy” is buoying Americans’ financial lives.

“This still does not really look like a traditional job,” said Fiona Greig, director of consumer research for the institute, which examined payments from 128 online platforms to the checking accounts of 2.3 million distinct users. (The accounts were made anonymous for the research.) “The vast majority of people are doing this on a sporadic basis.”

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