As residents of a city hit hard by the pandemic, many New York households are looking to independent contractor work to supplement their income. According to a new article in the Times Union, New Yorkers are increasingly turning to the gig economy to make ends meet. One such resident, single mother Erin Bornt, took advantage of the gig economy when her job as a 911 dispatcher was no longer sufficient.
“The pandemic made it easier to make money because there were fewer drivers wanting to drive,” Bornt said. Bornt works between 10 and 20 hours a week depending on the week, on top of her 40 hours at the 911 dispatch center. In her best weeks, when she’s both driving people and making food deliveries, via Uber Eats, she has made close to $900.
The gig economy provides invaluable opportunities to New Yorkers by offering them work flexibility. Sixteen percent of drivers in New York said they drove more during the pandemic because they were laid off, furloughed, or had their hours or pay cut because of the pandemic. The increase in production of the gig economy comes as no surprise to Kajal Lahiri, professor of economics at the University of Albany:
“After the lockdown, with the restaurants closed, people are looking for alternatives,” Lahiri said. Though he still believes the demand for rides is low right now and nowhere near where it could be in the future.
These new economic opportunities are being warmly welcomed by New Yorkers. Assemblyman John McDonald surveyed his constituents in district 108 to determine their opinions about gig workers remaining independent contractors or becoming employees. 65 percent of his constituents said that they should remain independent contractors:
A lot of the responders to the survey said they use gig work to help make a little extra money on top of their full-time job and so want the flexibility, McDonald said. “There are a lot of people who want to have that flexible work schedule or they have childcare issues so they choose to drive at night to help with childcare cost.”
If you are interested in reading the full article, it can be found here.