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How COVID-19 influenced the US gig economy?

Throughout the last 100 years, the United State’s economy and unemployment rate has gone through highs and lows due to pandemics, wars, oil and energy crises, housing and stock market crashes as well as new technology. The first six months of 2020 felt the economic fallout of government mandated shutdowns worldwide and social distancing measures as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With unemployment reaching 14.7% in April of 2020 which is the equivalent of 20.5 million lost jobs and the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

Coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the US job market

The top ten states with the most cases being New York, California, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia by early July 2020. The top 5 states in unemployment claims as well as job applications unsurprisingly are from this list: California, Texas, New Jersey, New York and Florida. 

The coronavirus has impacted way of life as well as the type of work people are seeking out. A comparison of March to June 2019 and March to June 2020 gives insight to how the workforce climate has changed. While freelancing is still popular among gig workers as around 25% of gig workers have applied to work within this category both in March to June 2019 as well as March to June 2020. Along with freelancing, delivery gigs have remained among the most popular in interest among gig workers in comparing the time frame of March to June of 2019 and 2020.

However due to social distancing measures, household gigs such as babysitting, pet sitting, and housekeeping which were much more actively sought out at 26% in 2019 now sit at 13% in 2020. Similarly gigs that can be done from home such as online surveys have increased from 3.8% to 13.2% when comparing March to June of 2019 and 2020. Another notable difference is the category of other which has increased from 13.1% to 24.6% which includes jobs such as online selling, online customer service representative work and private storage space rental. 

See how COVID-19 affected other states checking our interactive data sets on unemployment, gig applications and COVID-19 cases here.

Anya Prevallet-Kinstle is a Project Manager at Appjobs. She is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and specializes in research and content strategizing.

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