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Uber launches a new app to connect gig workers with temp jobs as it seeks profitability

Key Points
  • Uber announces a new app called Uber Works that will help connect gig workers with businesses looking for help in a pinch.
  • Beginning in Chicago, the Uber Works app will present workers and businesses with information about required skills and compensation for various roles.
  • The launch is just one more way Uber is attempting to diversify its business as it seeks a path to profitability.
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies speaks on a webcast during the company's initial public offering on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, May 10, 2019.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Uber launched a new app that aims to connect gig workers with businesses looking for help in a pinch, the company announced late Wednesday.

The Uber Works app, which is first ramping up in Chicago, will allow workers to browse through gigs with information about gross pay, job location and required skills. Workers can also log their hours through the app.

Businesses can use the Uber Works app to seek and hire workers for short-term or temporary jobs after Uber conducts a background check and skills assessment, according to Uber.

The program has been in the works since before Uber's IPO. CNBC confirmed last October that Uber had been testing the app in Chicago.

The launch is one more way that Uber is attempting to diversify its business as it continues to try to persuade investors its path will lead to profitability. The company already has a food delivery service and a freight business, but many analysts are still not sure those will make up for Uber's losses in its core ride-hailing business. Over the past three months, Uber's stock has fallen about 34% and its market valuation has been cut from its $76 billion pre-IPO private valuation to about $49 billion.

Uber Works also seems to attempt to respond to some criticism the company has faced in how it compensates workers through a variety of partnerships. Uber has often come under fire for classifying the workers that make up its core business as contractors rather than full-time employees, meaning they cannot receive the same benefits as staff. California recently passed a bill that will require gig workers be reclassified as employees, but Uber has claimed its workers may not be subject to the law.

Uber Works has taken on a variety of partnerships to help it pay and advance workers on the platform. The company has partnered with staffing agencies such as TrueBlue to handle payments and worker benefits. Uber said it is also looking to expand its educational partnership with Arizona State University to give workers access to online classes.

In a blog post, Uber said the program is "committed to deliver services that support skill up-leveling and promote work re-entry and we are partnering with various organizations that support workers in their employment journey."

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Watch: CNBC's full interview with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

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Watch CNBC's full interview with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi