The Gig Economy Is Basically a Myth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics used to perform a contingent worker survey every couple of years, but they stopped doing it after 2005. Last year they started up again, which gives us a look at how the gig economy has grown since then. The closest category they have to “gig worker” is people who are on call for sporadic work, which looks like this:

In a nutshell, nothing has changed. Uber drivers might get notified of work via an app instead of a phone call, but that’s about it.

The BLS has several other definitions of contingent workers, but they don’t make any difference. No matter how you define it, contingent work hasn’t changed much since 2005:

Any way you slice it, the gig economy just isn’t a thing: it’s not large and it’s not growing. In fact, since Uber accounted for half these jobs in 2017 but none of them in 2005, it’s very likely that the non-Uber gig market has declined considerably over the past decade. The vast, vast majority of people want steady work, the same as they always have.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate