Katz and Krueger found that the number of people identifying as “self-employed” in the gig economy dropped by about 10 percent, signaling that more of these contingent workers are on-call or working at temp agencies. Even though there are more independent contractors in the gig economy today than in 2005, their overall share of the contingent workforce has diminished.
The demographics also contradict a common narrative that the gig economy’s growth is driven by millennials either looking for a sense of freedom or finding what work they can in a tough job market. Instead, workers between ages 55 and 74 are the major drivers of the gig economy’s growth. Large growth was also found in workers ages 25 to 54.”Alternative work is more common among older workers and more highly educated workers, and the workforce has become older and more educated over time,” Katz and Krueger wrote.