A few days ago I took a look at whether the gig economy was really “exploding,” as an LA Times columnist had suggested. Neither the BLS nor anyone else directly tracks this, so I took a look at the number of part-time workers as a rough proxy and concluded that nothing much was going on. But I promised to report back if I got more information.

Today, another LA Times article mentions a Katz and Krueger paper in 2015 about “alternative work arrangements.” The category that’s closest to gig work is “on-call worker,” and here’s their chart:

The slope of the lines doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the 2015 line is higher than either the 1995 or 2005 lines. Gig workers are mostly in the bottom half of the income spectrum, and in quintiles 1 and 2 the share of on-call workers has gone up from about 2 percent to 3 percent of the labor force.

How big an increase is that? By one measure, it’s one percentage point. By another, it’s an increase of 50 percent. Basically, growth in the gig economy has been fairly robust, but it’s starting from a pretty low base. It’s still not a very big factor in the overall economy.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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