The “gig economy,” popularized by the likes of Lyft, Airbnb and TaskRabbit, has for years been promoted as an effective way for Americans to make money on their own terms. But new data shows that the majority of gig workers — 85 percent — make less than $500 a month, on average, through those services.
The home-sharing site Airbnb yielded the highest monthly return to its users, with a median income of $440, more than double the $210 a month earned by the median Lyft driver, according to San Francisco-based loan provider Earnest, which analyzed tens of thousands of loan applications to study the impact of gig-economy jobs. (Earnings on other popular platforms included a monthly median of $40 on craft-selling site Etsy, $70 on delivery app Postmates, $110 on services marketplace TaskRabbit and $155 on ride-sharing app Uber.)
The survey also noted that earnings spanned a wide range: “Several Airbnb hosts in our records, for instance, made over $10,000 per month, while others made less than $200.”
Nearly 1 in 4 Americans now earns money from the digital “platform economy,” according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.