Street musicians festival, Novi Sad, Serbia (Jean Menigault/Creative Commons)

When American workers decide or are forced to strike out on their own, their most frequent job is handyman, and a lot of the people taking that work are senior citizens, according to Thumbtack, the local services website.

Marco Zappacosta, CEO of Thumbtack, said almost a fifth of the 260,000 people and businesses using Thumbtack are 55 or older, reflecting a trend in which people are looking for ways to stay in the work force longer. Thumbtack operates in every county in the U.S., apart from two, he said. It has raised more than $270 million in venture capital.

After handymen, senior citizens are building contractors, photographers, painters and cleaners. But the gig jobs in which senior citizens predominate: professional wedding officiant (45% of them are senior citizens) and musicians.

  • The phenomenon is global (see the photo above, of a street musicians festival in Novi Sad, Serbia): "They want to keep working and to make sure they don't get left out of the digital revolution in the workplace," Zappacosta said.
  • Their biggest problem: is finding new customers.

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