News Archive

McKinsey Study: Gig-Economy Workforce Is Bigger Than Official Data Shows in U.S., Europe


The number of independent workers is being undercounted by governments in the U.S. and Europe—and that is contributing to glaring gaps in labor market policy, according to a large study released this morning by the McKinsey Global Institute.
The study found that 20-30% of the labor force in both the U.S. and the EU-15 is now made up of independent workers who are self-employed or do temporary work. The EU-15 is made up of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
McKinsey surveyed more than 8,000 respondents for the study. The respondents were based in six countries: The U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
Government estimates of the number of independent workers are too low, according to the research, because they “significantly undercount those who engage in independent work to supplement their income.”

Exhibit only copy 2MGI_Twitter_Independent Work_

How big are the gaps? While the percentage of independent workers in the U.S. is 27% by McKinsey’s estimate, it was 22% according to government data and other published surveys the institute analyzed. McKinsey estimates that the total number of of independent workers in the U.S. is now 54-68 million. There were 159.9 million workers in thecivilian labor force in September.
In Europe, the gulf between official data and McKinsey’s was also large. For instance, in Spain, McKinseys’s analysis of official data showed the percentage of independent earners to be 15% of the population, compared to 25% in McKinseys’ survey. And in the U.K., where the percentage of independent workers is 14% according to official data, it was 26% according to McKinsey’s survey.


News archive