“Biden and big government bureaucrats at the federal level are attempting to do away with gig work, but it could cost them with minorities, young people, and urbanites.”
We are barely into the second week of the new year, and it is already clear the gig economy is under assault from Biden and the Democrats and will be a significant issue in the midterm elections.
Democrats are looking to end the gig economy and “reclassify” gig workers as employees, disrupting multiple business models and taking away flex-work from as many as 59 million Americans.
President Biden ran on forcing gig workers to be re-classified as employees, and a slew of federal agencies including the U.S. Labor Department, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Federal Trade Commission, are doubling down on “reclassification” this year.
The Supreme Court is on track to hear two separate arguments directly related to gig classifications, and in Massachusetts Uber and Lyft are set to defend a misclassification lawsuit brought on by the attorney general.
Richard Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government, recently penned a piece exposing Biden and the Democrats war on gig work, and warning that Democrats’ outdated view on work will cause a rift with young people.
“The labor market of this new decade is moving toward a more flexible, independent contractor model”, writes Manning. “It is this shift which will be the focus of legislative battles over employment law as Democrats seek to find ways to force these small business people into becoming dues payers to their labor union allies, while Republicans will likely seek to end laws and regulations which restrict people from taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by the 21st century 5G work environment.”
“It is this shift which will be the focus of legislative battles over employment law as Democrats seek to find ways to force these small businesspeople into becoming dues payers to their labor union allies, while Republicans will likely seek to end laws and regulations which restrict people from taking full advantage of the opportunities presented by the 21st century 5G work environment.” – Richard Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government
Biden and big government bureaucrats at the federal level are attempting to do away with gig work, but it could cost them with minorities, young people, and urbanites. Data shows minorities, First Generation Americans, young people, and urbanites are the backbone of the gig economy, and choose this work for its flexibility and work-life balance.
More than one-third of American workers or around 59 million Americans are in gig work either full time or part time according to Gallup and Upwork, and for 29% of Americans gig work is their full-time source of income. This is not an insignificant number, and gig work is continuing to rise at a rapid rate.
“More than one-third of American workers or around 59 million Americans are in gig work either full time or part time according to Gallup and Upwork, and for 29% of Americans gig work is their full-time source of income.”
According to financial research group Fortunly, over 90% of Americans would consider freelance work, and 85% of gig workers are planning to continue gig work for the next five or more years. They also found gig workers and freelancers are usurpingly located in urban hubs.
Fortunly’s findings indicate the millions of Americans who choose gig work do so for flexibility, and more control over their lives. For example, nearly 60% of gig workers consider their working conditions to be flexible, compared to only 27% of employees.
Almost half of gig workers (47%) say they are content with the hours they work hours, as opposed to 34% of employees. What’s more, 70% of gig workers say they choose to freelance for better work-life balance. Reclassifying gig workers as employees would no doubt have a negative impact on the freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance many who choose to freelance want to keep.
Market Research Foundation Chairman Bill Wilson put it this way: “If people want a full time job, they are out there. But it comes with HR Departments, time clocks and inflexible work rules.”
“If people want a full time job, they are out there. But it comes with HR Departments, time clocks and inflexible work rules.” – Bill Wilson, Chairman of Market Research Foundation
According to the Pew Research Center, gig workers skew significantly younger, more urban, and more ethnically diverse than the traditional 9-5 workforce. For instance, 30% of Hispanic adults have made money through an online gig platform, compared with 20% of Black adults, 19% of Asian adults and 12% of White adults. Pew also found that adults under age 50 are about twice as likely as those over 50 to have ever done any gig work.
In their State of Independence in America survey from August of 2021, MBO Partners, a provider of solutions for independent workforce management, showed full-time, part-time and occasional independent workers increased 34% since 2020. They also found younger and female workers made up much of that increase. Sixty-eight percent of new gig workers in 2021 were Gen Z or Millennial, up from the 50% in 2020 and over half (55%) of new gig workers were women.
“Sixty-eight percent of new gig workers in 2021 were Gen Z or Millennial, up from the 50% in 2020 and over half (55%) of new gig workers were women.”
The Community Service Society of New York looked at NYC gig workers and found workers were largely young, people of color, and men, especially fathers. The CSS also found 6 out of 10 workers depend on gig work as their primary source of income.
Though we couldn’t find hard numbers, there is also strong evidence that many gig workers are immigrants and newly naturalized citizens. The Atlantic did an article in 2018 criticizing the long-term duration of gig work, but admitting that gig work often serves as a starting job for new immigrants.
Researchers at Northeastern University did a similar piece, documenting the lives of immigrants from places like Uganda, China, and Haiti who turn to a network of apps for gig work upon arrival to the U.S.
Summoning Uber or Lyft in major metro areas from Seattle and San Francisco to D.C. and New York confirm a significant portion of immigrant drivers from various parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Instacart shoppers skew female and are largely a mix of suburban moms looking to add a little more money and minority women. Door Dash and UberEats drivers lean young and often minority. What’s more, cryptocurrency roles are now a booming part of the gig economy, and attract predominantly Generation Z and Millennial men.
The gig economy is rapidly expanding and vastly diverse, with a significant amount of young people, minorities, and first-generation immigrants filling traditional ride-share and delivery jobs, but also pouring into new industries like cryptocurrency. On top of that, Americans from all backgrounds are choosing gig work at higher rates and freelance work is on the rise.
Gig workers choose freelance work for the flexibility and freedom it affords, and Democrats’ attempt to take that away could drive away key constituencies, including young people, urbanites, minorities, and immigrants.