So, this is fascinating. Two economists, Lawrence F. Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger of Princeton University, recently wrote an extensive report on the size and shape of the freelance economy.
Their paper, The Rise Of Alternative Work Arrangements And The Gig Economy, covers everything from part-time drivers for Lyft and Uber to the use of independent contractors by Fortune 500 corporations.
Here’s what really staggers me.
The Rise Of The Freelancer Economy
According to Krueger and Katz, most of the employment growth in America since 2005 seems to be what they call “alternative work arrangements”–meaning temp, independent contractor and freelance work.
Most of that growth, they say, is not due to the rise of companies like Uber and Taskrabbit. Rather, the economists argue, it’s due to companies outsourcing tasks previously performed by full-time or part-time employees to independent contractors.
Katz and Krueger estimate there are approximately 600,000 workers for online platforms such as Mechanical Turk and Uber; meanwhile, independent contractors accounted for 0.6% of American jobs in 2005… in post-recession 2015, that number soared to an estimated 3.1%.
Isn’t that something?