Employment in the gig economy is growing far faster than traditional payroll employment, according to a study out Thursday from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.
By using a little-know statistic, the researchers found evidence of a significant change in the numbers, and the potential for a huge realignment in the very nature of employment.
Over the past 20 years, the number of gig economy workers — those who operate as independent contractors, often through apps — has increased by about 27 percent more than payroll employees, according to CNBC calculations using data from the report. The change is even more severe in certain industries, like ground transportation, where the number of gig economy workers increased 44 percent more than payroll employees.
Especially along the coasts and in early adopter cities like Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, the researchers found evidence of huge changes and the possibility of gig economy jobs replacing traditional payroll employment. Eighty-one percent of the growth in such jobs over the past four years took place in the nation's 25 largest metro areas.