This Is Why the Gig Economy Is Shrinking

Uber sparked a job trend that never took off.

Much ado has been made over the side hustle. After all, the sales pitch is attractive: Liberate yourself from fluorescent lights, banal water cooler conversation and soul-crushing commutes, and be your own boss so that you can work as much (or as little) as you want. What’s not to love?

Read enough about the side gig and you’ll inevitably come across testimonials from those who have converted their passion project or side gig into their full-time gig. But be careful if you think those people who sold handmade crafts on Etsy as a side gig until the money they made was greater than their primary income are the standard.

Click to read more about side gigs that’ll boost your income.

Turns out, these people are the exception. In today’s economy, even with the abundance of peer-to-peer marketplace apps, the gig economy is shrinking.

More than 15 million Americans were working as independent contractors, on-call workers and temporary workers and for contract companies as of May 2017. That’s equal to about 10.1 percent of the American workforce, which, as much as people talk about side gigs now, is down slightly from 10.8 percent when the U.S. government last conducted the survey in 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week.

Read: The Surprising Side Hustles of These 15 Top Athletes

Baby boomers — not millennials — are, surprisingly, the generation leading the gig economy. The survey reported that more than one in three independent contractors were ages 55 or older, compared with fewer than one in four workers being 55 or older in traditional arrangements.

Sarah Kessler, author of the upcoming book “Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work,” effectively debunked the myth of the gig economy, as reported by NBC. Through her reporting, Kessler found that the gig economy only works for people with the means to save for retirement and pay for their own health insurance — two benefits not typically associated with independent contractor status. In addition to sacrificing company savings plans, members of the gig economy surrender their rights to unions, human resources, paid lunch breaks and anti-discrimination laws associated with traditional employment.

Find Out: How I Became a Six-Figure Freelancer

As tempting as it might be to trade your 9-to-5 day job for a freelancing gig, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each as you plan your professional future.

Click through to read more about how to find a side hustle if you’re still interested.

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