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Singing at Huntington Beach, California. (Carol M. Highsmith Collection/Library of Congress)

Working in the Gig Economy: An Overview of a Rising Industry

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This post is by Georgette Green, Business Reference and Research Specialist in the Science & Business Reading Room.  

The Business Section’s new guide, Gig Economy: A Research Guide, is now available for researchers and presents an overview for researchers interested in this industry.

The gig economy refers to a sector where people engage in short-term, task, or project jobs, usually arranged with the help of a digital platform. The gig economy is not a new concept but has existed for years. The industry’s rise is due to innovations and technological advancements, which allow people to find jobs and employers to recruit employees through digital platforms. The gig economy has both advantages and disadvantages. Some benefits include flexible schedules, quick income, diverse opportunities, the ability to work globally or pursue entrepreneurship. On the other hand, some disadvantages include a lack of benefits, unstable pay, job insecurity, social isolation, and limited worker rights.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many business closures and a surge in individuals seeking new jobs to earn money or supplement their income. During the pandemic, gig work was one of the more popular options for workers. For example, people began using digital service platforms more frequently and working for companies like Uber or Grubhub in increasing numbers, to deliver food from chain restaurants and fine dining establishments. Other gig jobs included performing delivery services, transportation services, street performances, administrative tasks, personal training, domestic work, and many other tasks.

artists in profile holding several paintbrushes along the left painting a woman seated wearing a sleeveless dress and pearls in profile on the right with paintings along the wall in the background and a gentleman in a suit in the background
A street artist in New York City. (Bernard Gotfryd photograph collection / Library of Congress)

This guide provides researchers with information about the gig economy. It covers types of gigs, strategies for finding gig jobs on digital platforms and company websites, resources for finding statistical data, and identifying relevant global laws and regulations. Within each section of the guide, you’ll find selections of books, websites, and subscription databases with a variety of information on the industry.

If you are interested in learning about the gig economy industry, the following are books I’ve selected from our online catalog, which provide overviews and context on the industry:

If you are interested in learning more about business and business topics, check out our business research guides!

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