Apr 3, 2024 - News

Nearly 5% of Mass. workforce is doing app-based work, study finds

App-based workers' share of labor force, 2022
Data: Flex Association; Map: Axios Visuals

4.6% of Massachusetts's overall workforce engages in app-based work, per a new study.

Why it matters: App-based work offers a flexible way to earn a living or just make an extra buck — but many such workers are fighting for better pay, benefits and more.

The big picture: About 4.3% of the overall U.S. workforce takes part in app-based work, demonstrating gig companies' influence.

Zoom in: Work conditions could change for app workers later this year when voters decide whether to legally exempt companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash from state requirements on regular employment and benefits.

  • Unions and Democrats say the gig economy companies should consider workers as employees instead of independent contractors.

The other side: The companies, and many of their drivers and delivery workers, are willing to trade limited new benefits to keep the contractor system.

How it works: The app-based work data is the result of an Axios analysis of a new study from consultancy Public First and commissioned by Flex, a trade group representing DoorDash, Uber, Lyft and more.

  • The Flex study is based on aggregated data collected in 2022 from several such platforms, plus "new consumer and app-based worker survey data."
  • We compared the study's estimated numbers of app-based workers by state with the size of each state's overall civilian labor force.

By the numbers: There are 7.3 million app-based workers nationwide, per the study.

  • "The app-based rideshare and delivery industry contributes over $212 billion annually to the U.S. economy," Flex claims.

Zoom out: Washington, D.C., is America's app-based work hotspot, with drivers or couriers making up 9% of the labor force there.

  • D.C. aside, Florida (6.4% of the labor force), Nevada (6%) and Georgia (5.9%) have the highest share of app-based workers in their respective labor forces.
  • Tennessee (0.5%), Vermont (1.5%) and South Dakota (1.6%) have the lowest.

What's next: "We estimate that the industry could be worth approximately $500 billion in 10 years' time," Public First director Vinous Ali said in a statement.

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