New Economy Workers

An economy increasingly based on technology and automation has given rise to sharing, gig and on-demand marketplaces that connect workers and consumers like never before. Workers who perform services for companies such as Lyft, Postmates and VRBO benefit from flexibility, convenience and opportunity not typically found in traditional work environments. Now, as these platforms become a permanent aspect of the U.S. economy, legislative policy and employer benefits must be examined and updated accordingly.

To earn income, survey respondents have participated in range of peer-to-peer transactions…

In what ways have you earned income by participating in the new economy? Please check all that apply.

Driving passengers for ride-sharing company such as Uber or Lyft

  • 39%

Delivering food or goods for individuals who request them via an online platform such as Postmates or Seamless

  • 35%

Selling goods or services through online market places such as eBay or Etsy

  • 34%

Selling tickets to music, entertainment or sporting events via an online reseller such as SeatGeek StubHub, or Viagogo

  • 31%

Renting your home or private space for use via a short-term rental service such as VRBO, HomeAway, or Airbnb

  • 27%

Performing tasks or services for others in your area through companies like TaskRabbit or Handy

  • 24%

...with Uber, Ebay, Lyft and Postmates most utilized.

What company was this for? Please check all that apply.

Uber

  • 34%

Ebay

  • 28%

Lyft

  • 17%

Uber Eats

  • 16%

Postmates

  • 16%

Etsy

  • 14%

Airbnb

  • 12%

TaskRabbit

  • 12%

Grub Hub

  • 10%

HomeAway

  • 10%

Doordash

  • 9%

instacart

  • 8%

Handy

  • 8%

Seamless

  • 8%

Thumbtack

  • 8%

VRBO

  • 7%

Nearly half of workers surveyed say they earn more than 75% of their income from new economy companies.

To the best of your knowledge, how much of your income comes from working with new economy companies?

19%
All or nearly all of it
26%
About 75%
21%
About 50%
19%
About 25%
9%
Very little
6%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Younger workers tend to report largest share of income coming from new economy companies.

To the best of your knowledge, how much of your income comes from working with new economy companies?

19%
All or nearly all of it
26%
About 75%
21%
About 50%
19%
About 25%
9%
Very little
6%
Don't Know / No Opinion
All or nearly all of it
About 75%
About 50%
About 25%
Very little
Don't Know / No Opinion

Adults

  • 19%
  • 26%
  • 21%
  • 19%
  • 9%
  • 6%

Gender: Male

  • 20%
  • 25%
  • 22%
  • 21%
  • 8%
  • 3%

Gender: Female

  • 18%
  • 26%
  • 21%
  • 17%
  • 9%
  • 9%

Age: 18-29

  • 16%
  • 33%
  • 24%
  • 15%
  • 8%
  • 5%

Age: 30-44

  • 24%
  • 20%
  • 22%
  • 22%
  • 7%
  • 5%

Age: 45-64

  • 20%
  • 21%
  • 18%
  • 19%
  • 12%
  • 9%

Democrats

  • 13%
  • 22%
  • 25%
  • 26%
  • 8%
  • 5%

Independents

  • 17%
  • 26%
  • 19%
  • 15%
  • 13%
  • 11%

Republicans

  • 29%
  • 29%
  • 19%
  • 14%
  • 6%
  • 3%

Only a small share of workers (14%) say they work 30+ hours per week in the new economy.

About how many hours per week do you spend working for new economy companies?

0 to 5 hours

  • 14%

6 to 10 hours

  • 25%

11 to 20 hours

  • 28%

21 to 30 hours

  • 15%

31 to 40 hours

  • 10%

More than 40 hours

  • 4%

Don’t Know / No Opinion

  • 4%

Even workers who earn all or most of their income from the new economy are unlikely to work 30+ hours per week for companies.

About how many hours per week do you spend working for new economy companies?

0 to 5 hours
6 to 10 hours
11 to 20 hours
21 to 30 hours
31 to 40 hours
More than 40 hours
Don’t Know / No Opinion

New Economy Workers

  • 14%
  • 25%
  • 28%
  • 15%
  • 10%
  • 4%
  • 4%

Has health insurance

  • 13%
  • 26%
  • 28%
  • 16%
  • 11%
  • 3%
  • 4%

No health insurance

  • 16%
  • 21%
  • 27%
  • 14%
  • 5%
  • 9%
  • 8%

All/most income from gig

  • 10%
  • 26%
  • 25%
  • 14%
  • 16%
  • 6%
  • 3%

Half income from gig

  • 6%
  • 30%
  • 28%
  • 23%
  • 6%
  • 3%
  • 3%

Not much income from gig

  • 26%
  • 21%
  • 33%
  • 13%
  • 4%
  • 2%
  • 1%

Workers are likely to have jobs outside of their participation in the new economy, with 4 in 5 saying they work full or part-time.

Aside from the income you receive from the new economy, do you also earn income in other ways?

Yes, I work fulltime

  • 49%

Yes, I work part-time

  • 30%

No, this is my primary source of income

  • 14%

Don't Know / No Opinion

  • 6%

Workers use new economy income for a multitude of purposes, most notably for out-of-pocket living expenses, car/housing payments and leisure activities.

How do you use the income you make in the new economy? Do you...

Pay out-of-pocket expenses such as groceries or transportation

  • 66%

Pay rent and/or other living expenses such as car or mortgage payments

  • 60%

Pay for pleasure or leisure activities

  • 59%

Pay off debt

  • 57%

Support for dependents, such as children or elderly family members

  • 47%

Save for retirement

  • 47%

Pay for education

  • 43%

Regarding motivation to work for these platforms, income supplementation and flexibility are most cited.

Would you say the following statements describes your motivation to work for a new economy?

Yes
No
Don't Know / No Opinion

Providing these services adds to my income

  • 64%
  • 24%
  • 12%

I wanted flexible work hours and scheduling

  • 62%
  • 25%
  • 13%

I need to work for a new economy company to make enough money to make ends meet

  • 54%
  • 33%
  • 13%

Many of my friends or family members also work for a new economy company

  • 47%
  • 41%
  • 12%

The pay is better

  • 45%
  • 37%
  • 18%

I can only work from home

  • 42%
  • 46%
  • 13%

I could not find work at a traditional company

  • 42%
  • 44%
  • 14%

Workers are generally divided on whether they consider themselves company employees, though they are slightly more likely to say they are not.

Do you consider yourself an employee of [the new economy company you earn income through]?

43%
Yes
50%
No
8%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Though, strong majority of workers who earn all or most of their income through the new economy consider themselves employees.

Do you consider yourself an employee of this company?

Yes
No
Don't Know / No Opinion

New Economy Workers

  • 43%
  • 50%
  • 8%

Has health insurance

  • 44%
  • 49%
  • 7%

No health insurance

  • 36%
  • 52%
  • 12%

All/most income from gig

  • 57%
  • 39%
  • 4%

Half income from gig

  • 46%
  • 45%
  • 9%

Not much income from gig

  • 23%
  • 67%
  • 10%

And generally, majority of workers define people who work in the new economy as independent contractors.

Which statement best describes your view of the people who work for a new economy company?

They are employees who work directly for the company

  • 35%

They are independent contractors who work for themselves and use the service or app to connect to potential customers

  • 55%

Don’t Know/ No Opinion

  • 10%

A plurality of workers would prefer to work fulltime in the new economy.

Which of the following statements comes closest to your view even if neither is exactly right?

I would prefer to work fulltime in the new economy.

  • 42%

I would prefer not to have work in the new economy at all.

  • 21%

I am satisfied with my current situation of earning income in the new economy, as well as through other means and would not want to change it.

  • 34%

Don’t Know / No Opinion

  • 3%

Three in 4 workers say their financial situation has improved since working in the new economy.

Compared to when you started working in the new economy, would you say your financial situation has gotten...

32%
Much better
40%
Somewhat better
12%
Somewhat worse
6%
Much worse
6%
Stayed about the same
4%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Even workers who do not earn a large share of their income in new economy report financial improvement: 7 in 10 say their financial situation has improved since entering this workforce.

Compared to when you started working in the new economy, would you say your financial situation has gotten...

Much better
Somewhat better
Somewhat worse
Much worse
Stayed about the same
Don't Know / No Opinion

New Economy Workers

  • 32%
  • 40%
  • 12%
  • 6%
  • 6%
  • 4%

Has health insurance

  • 33%
  • 42%
  • 11%
  • 5%
  • 6%
  • 3%

No health insurance

  • 28%
  • 29%
  • 22%
  • 11%
  • 5%
  • 5%

All/most income from gig

  • 51%
  • 30%
  • 12%
  • 5%
  • 1%
  • 1%

Half income from gig

  • 31%
  • 43%
  • 12%
  • 7%
  • 6%
  • 2%

Not much income from gig

  • 7%
  • 61%
  • 12%
  • 8%
  • 12%
  • 1%

Workers are overwhelmingly satisfied with their experience; 4 in 5 describe working in the new economy positively.

How would you describe your experience working for companies in the new economy?

38%
Very positive
41%
Somewhat positive
10%
Somewhat negative
5%
Very negative
6%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Satisfaction extends to income received; 3 in 4 workers say they’re satisfied with the money they can make with new economy companies.

How satisfied are you with the money you can make from working with new economy companies?

34%
Very satisfied
40%
Somewhat satisfied
14%
Not too satisfied
6%
Not satisfied at all
6%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Three in 5 workers (59%) describe new economy companies as trustworthy, and a majority (53%) say they care about their workers.

Thinking more about the new economy, which includes companies such as Lyft, Uber, HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb, Postmates, Instacart, or TaskRabbit, do you think the following statements describe the industry well or not?

Yes
No
Don't Know / No Opinion

Workers who work for new economy companies have the flexibility to work as much or as little as they would like

  • 66%
  • 24%
  • 10%

Peer-to-peer economy companies are trustworthy

  • 59%
  • 27%
  • 15%

The new economy provides workers with a positive experience

  • 59%
  • 29%
  • 12%

Peer-to-peer economy companies are trustworthy

  • 58%
  • 29%
  • 13%

Services provided by new economy companies are reliable

  • 53%
  • 33%
  • 13%

Peer-to-peer economy companies care about their workers

  • 50%
  • 38%
  • 12%

Workers who work for new economy companies have the flexibility to work as much or as little as they would like

  • 44%
  • 39%
  • 16%

Seven in 10 (69%) say tech companies operating in the new economy are making efforts to look out for workers like them.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Technology companies operating in the new economy are making efforts to look out for workers like me who earn income by utilizing their platforms.

36%
Strongly agree
33%
Somewhat agree
17%
Somewhat disagree
7%
Strongly disagree
7%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Three in 4 say they’re likely to pay into employee benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, if offered by new economy companies.

If the new economy company you earn income through offered a way for you to pay into benefits, such as healthcare, retirement savings, sick days, etc., how likely are you to take advantage of that opportunity?

39%
Very likely
36%
Somewhat likely
12%
Not too likely
6%
Not likely at all
7%
Don't Know / No Opinion

Plurality of workers say private businesses should be most responsible for ensuring workers in the new economy have access to benefits.

Who should be most responsible when it comes to ensuring workers in the new economy have access to benefits, such as healthcare, retirement savings, sick days, etc?

Government officials

  • 26%

Private businesses

  • 35%

Government officials and private businesses should be equally responsible

  • 23%

Don't Know / No Opinion

  • 15%