Shoring up shortfalls : women, retirement, and the growing GigSupp economy
Gig work-the selling or renting of labor, effort, skills, and time outside of traditional employment-is a long-standing feature of the US economy. Today, millions of people are online gig workers, selling goods and services or renting rooms, houses, and other assets by using platforms such as Uber, Lyft, Rover, DoorDash, eBay, Etsy, VRBO, and Airbnb to connect with customers. Millions more people are defined as offline gig workers: They do not use an online platform to connect with customers but do continue to run errands; walk dogs; rent rooms; care for children and the elderly; sell goods at outdoor markets and roadside stands; and perform housework, yardwork, and other occasional jobs. This article focuses on gig workers-and especially women gig workers-who engage in online or offline gig work as a supplemental source of income rather than as a primary or sole source of their income (i.e., GigSupp workers). In particular, this article answers the following research questions: (1) what do existing measures of GigSupp work show about its growth and whether any data gaps remain; (2) what are the challenges and anticipated needs of GigSupp workers in saving for retirement (including the extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic); and (3) what are the specific federal tax, retirement, and financial literacy policy proposals that might help GigSupp workers better finance their retirement?.