Gig work is taking over

If you’re interested in temporary work, there’s great news to share: The so-called gig economy approached $800 billion last year, according to a new report.

An estimated 44 million people entered the gig economy last year, with 29 percent of all American workers doing some sort of gig or contingent work.

According to the study, nearly 40 percent of people overall prefer alternatives to a traditional job, and 69 percent of independent contractors and self-employed workers preferring to engage in work outside of a full-time employment situation.

The gig economy covers independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, seasonal workers and other temporary workers.

Another report released earlier this year found that the rise in the incidence of alternative work arrangements has been most dramatic among older workers ages 55 to 75.

The pursuit of extra income is the No. 1 reason for this trend. Many boomers who have chosen to retire or perhaps found themselves involuntarily retired due to a layoff want extra cash to supplement retirement savings and Social Security while they’re still young and healthy enough to earn.

The government used to track so-called “contingent” workers — those without “an explicit or implicit contract for long-term employment” — but their reading was considered unreliable and was discontinued in 2005. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced in January that the Bureau of Labor Statistics will recommence gathering data on contingent workers starting in May of 2017.

About the Author

Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.