The gig economy is taking off in metropolitan areas nationwide, and Nashville is at the forefront, according to new research from the Brookings Institution.
Nashville is among the U.S. cities in which freelance activity in the ground transportation industry doubled between 2012 and 2014. San Jose and San Francisco had the highest growth, with Los Angeles, Austin, San Diego and Nashville in the next tier of cities.
The gig economy, driven by companies including Uber, Lyft, Postmates and others, allows workers to pick up jobs according to their chosen hours. They are contract workers, connected to customers often through mobile apps.
“This is a fast-growing, new way to organize the world of work, and it has really big implications,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director at the Brookings Institution. “Nashville looks like one of the early adopters, and I don't see any limit yet to the growth. What we are seeing is that the earliest adopters are growing the fastest."
The Brookings report tracked the growth of gig workers through U.S. Census Bureau data related to “non-employer firms” which tracks mostly self-employed workers. There were 24 million non-employer firms in 2014, up from 15 million in 1997 and 22 million in 2007.