CDI Corporation

Gig economy jobs growing faster than traditional employment, new study says

According to a new study from the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution, employment in the gig economy is growing faster than payroll employment, CNBC reported.

In the last two decades, gig employment – which includes independent contractors such as those working for ride-hailing services like Uber – has grown by 27 percent more than payroll employment, CNBC found. The source noted that the expansion is especially dramatic in the ground transportation industry, which has seen the number of gig economy employees grow 44 percent more than traditional employees.

CNBC also reported that 81 percent of the gig economy growth in the past four years occurred in the 25 largest metro areas in the country. Industry analysts believe that the shift may hint at the eventual replacement of payroll jobs with contractor positions.

To determine the figures, researchers at The Brookings Institution used the IRS classification for “nonemployer firms” as their  measure for gig economy employees, the Chicago Tribune explained. Businesses in this category are those with no employees who make $1,000 or more per year.

“This is, I think, a proxy measure that we’re very comfortable with, but it is a proxy,” said Mark Muro, co-author of the study and the director of policy at the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution, in an interview with the source. “We don’t have a specific measure of every single person using these platforms, and we are likely undercounting.”