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Just How Many Gig Workers Are There, Anyway

December 05, 2018 / Roy Maurer

Federal data show that about 1 percent of workers in the United States use apps and online platforms to find and perform gig work. The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) surveyed workers in May 2017 to measure how many workers find and complete these short-term gig jobs through mobile apps and websites. The information was obtained from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of about 60,000 households used to produce the nation's labor market data. "The purpose … was to identify the number of workers who secure work through a website or mobile app, as opposed to a staffing agency or other traditional methods of seeking [contingent] employment," said James A. Paretti Jr., a shareholder in the Washington, D.C., office of employment law firm Littler. The BLS concluded that at the time of the survey, there were approximately 1.6 million workers using apps and online platforms to find gig work, or about 1 percent of the total employed workfo...