Making a living as an Uber or Lyft driver can be tough. An over saturated market, having too few people in need of your services, paying to maintain your ride and the high cost of gas can all take a serious bite out of a driver's bottom line.
Earnings for gig economy workers in the transportation sector—think drivers for Uber, Lyft, or Postmates— plummeted by 53 percent, according to research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute.
The study looked at banking data from 39 million Chase customers between 2013 and 2018. It found 530 percent growth in the number of people engaged in a form of gig work (0.3 percent to 1.6 percent of customers), with transportation supplying the bulk of that growth.
In terms of dollar amounts, Chase found that transportation gig workers’ monthly earnings decreased from $1,535 on average to just $762, as of March of this year. Transportation gig workers were also more likely to be unemployed in the traditional sense and to derive their earnings from multiple platforms.
According to Gizmodo, Uber and Lyft were pissed at the study's findings, as it makes them look like a bad deal. Fair enough: pointing out that drivers stand to make less money than the gig once paid and that they could wind up on the dole doesn't do anything good to their business.
That said, not all is doom and gloom within the gig economy. According to the same study, those that make a little extra cheddar from leasing out their apartments with services like Airbnb are currently enjoying 69% gains to their bottom line.
So, I guess that if you're about to drop below the poverty line because your ridesharing gig isn't providing what you need to survive, you can always let strangers into your home. Yay?