The Daily Yonder's (tagline: Keep it Rural) ‘GIG ECONOMY’: WHILE U.S. GAINS, RURAL SHOWS NET LOSS covers an interesting study that shows rural areas of the country are seeing declines in gig economy employment.
The is based on an examination of non-employer data by U.S. county.
Non-employer is what the U.S. census calls solo businesses that don't employ traditional full or part-time (W2) employees. Their full description of a non-employer business is:
A nonemployer business is one that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the Construction industry), and is subject to federal income taxes.
As you can see from the study chart below, while urban areas have seen strong increases in the number of non-employers over the past decade or so, rural areas have seen declines.
Also interesting is back in 2003 rural areas had more non-employer businesses per thousand residents than urban areas. But as the article chart below shows, that has dramatically shifted.
The study's authors aren't sure why this is happening. Key quote:
Perhaps one reason the number of nonemployer establishments per 1,000 residents fell is lack of adequate broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Another reason may be that rural counties are lagging their urban counterparts in joining the online gig economy because they may not be aware of its benefits.
This was just the first in a series of 3 articles on the study and study findings. So stay tuned to the Daily Yonder for more on this topic.