PRESS RELEASE: SUPERVISOR MARK FARRELL RELEASES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND ECONOMIC REPORT ON THE GIG ECONOMY & WORKFORCE IN SAN FRANCISCO

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, Supervisor Mark Farrell released the City’s first-of-its-kind economic report on the gig economy and workforce in San Francisco. Farrell also announced the creation of the “Gig Taskforce” within the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) that will be charged with periodically providing administrative and policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and Mayor to help gig workers and the gig economy.

“The ‘Gig Economy’ is a growing part of our workforce in San Francisco, and I believe we need to get in front of the issue and understand all of the implications for our City,” stated Supervisor Farrell. “Long gone are the days of working for a single company for forty years before retiring — our workforce is more nimble than ever before, and our policies should reflect this changing reality.”

Farrell’s report finds that there are indications that the use of online platforms and the gig economy is growing rapidly in San Francisco. Data in Farrell’s report suggests that approximately 5% of San Francisco residents are generating some source of income from the gig economy. For example, Lyft reports a 450% growth in the number of San Francisco residents applying to drive for the company between the end of 2013 and June 2016.

Data from Farrell’s report suggests that the gig economy is capturing a share of people who are already self-employed, and is not yet expanding the total amount of self-employed workers. Current available data suggests that in many cases online platforms supplement, rather than replace, existing sources of income, such as wages.

“As a City, I believe we need to explore how 20th century work standards for workers change and evolve in a 21st century economy,” said Supervisor Mark Farrell. “I believe the role of our government should never be to stifle innovation, but react appropriately to make sure we are still able to deliver the core services our residents expect and deserve. Understanding short-term and long-term employment trends are part of that equation.”

“Technology has presented workers with unprecedented direct access to consumers, opening new opportunities for work in San Francisco,” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic Workforce Development. “As we see the beginnings of change in employment patterns we must evaluate the needs of this changing workforce and how our City can best support workers.”

Farrell also announced the creation of the City’s internal “Gig Taskforce” in OEWD that will work with workers in the gig workforce, the self-employed, gig platforms, and other thought leaders in this space to gain a holistic vision of the new landscape this segment of our economy and workforce faces.

OEWD plans to periodically put forth policy and program recommendations for supporting gig workers and the self-employed, establishing San Francisco as a leader in this space and ensuring that this 21st century workforce has support and access to services that they require.

Farrell plans to call for an update to his first-of-its kind report in the Fall as more current data becomes publicly available to the City regarding gig workers, so that San Francisco can continue to be on the forefront of answering questions around the types of benefits and responsibilities workers and companies should expect.

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