Economist Mike Walden: Perspectives on the Gig Economy

I’m Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at perspectives on the gig economy.   Mike, it appears the so-called gig economy is popping up everywhere, from taxi service to food delivery and now even to house cleaning.   But there are clearly pros and cons to this kind of employment.  Give us a summary of those pluses and minuses.

  1. First, although the gig economy has received much attention, it still accounts for only 1% of US employment
  2. But biggest concern is that is replacing traditional jobs, where people could count on steady hours, good pay, and benefits
  3. Yet a close look at where the gig economy has grown suggests it’s not replacing high paying jobs – for example, food service delivery and taxi service are not high paying
  4. Also, research shows gig jobs are a good opportunity for people who want part-time work – maybe they’re in school – or who want the jobs as a supplement to their full time job
  5. Bottom line – gig jobs are a new entrant into the labor market – provide another option of employment that may exactly meet what someone needs

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.