Total Spending on US Gig Work Close to $800 Billion

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, September 21, 2016

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions has published findings into the current size of the Gig Economy. Measuring the Gig Economy: Inside the New Paradigm of Contingent Work covers key findings and data from recent SIA research on the gig economy, including market estimates and features of the US contingent workforce. The research was based on a survey of over 7000 adults in the US.

The gig economy includes any contingent work such as independent contracting, consulting, freelancing, seasonal work and other temporary work. While the term gig has more recently emerged to describe freelance work facilitated by an internet platform or app, SIA considers the term as more broadly describing any work explicitly short term in nature.

The ground-breaking research measures the size of the US gig economy and provides the first-ever estimate of gig economy spending. According to the research, an estimated 44 million people took on gig work in the US in 2015, with 29% of all US workers performing gig/contingent work last year. Total spending on gig work in the US was $792 billion. SIA believes this is the first estimate of its kind around US contingent workforce spend.

“At close to $800 billion, gig and contingent work is a very large sector of the economy, on par with areas that get much more scrutiny and understanding,” said Barry Asin, President of SIA. “It’s important to understand what is happening in the gig economy, not the least because there is a significant portion of the US workforce that prefers alternative work arrangements to traditional, full time employment.”

Close to 40% of people overall prefer alternatives to a traditional job, with 69% of independent contractors and self-employed workers preferring to engage in work outside of a full-time employment situation.