Online selling, personal taxi services such as Uber, and renting a spare room to tourists, are examples of an increasing number of people generating or supplementing their incomes by trading goods and services online. This trend is often replacing traditional employment.
Measurement of the “gig economy” (working outside a formal work environment with temporary, short-term employment by independent workers) is difficult. Many situations are not reported in current labor statistics. In recent years, the fastest growth for self-employed workers has been in hairdressing, cleaning, and management consulting. While these services may be in the gig economy, this trend may also indicate growing formal self-employment in these fields.
Gig economy activities may start as temporary work due to a lay-off or a need to supplement household income. However, as time goes by, these self-employment positions can become a person’s ongoing employment status.
For additional information on the gig economy, click here.
- Have students describe examples of the “gig economy.”
- Have students explain the “gig economy” to others (including different generations) and get their reactions.
- What factors influenced the development of the gig economy?
- How might the gig economy affect a person’s financial planning activities?