We’ve already provided a few insights into the impact that the recent presidential election will have on the sharing economy. We offered pre-election predictions, presented a preview of what we expect the gig economy to look like under President Trump, analyzed what the on-demand economy should think of Trump’s choice for Transportation Secretary, and most recently presented an assessment of how the new Secretary of Labor will impact the gig economy. So what more is there to say? As it turns out, plenty.
The Chicago Tribune just posted a fabulous piece covering an overview of what gig economy companies might expect under President Trump, and they cover some new ground we haven’t yet covered. Before diving in, it summarizes the recent growth of the gig economy, noting that nearly 16% of workers engaged in alternative work arrangements in 2015, a jump from 10% just 10 years ago, and from 9.3% in 1995. It also states that the freelance population in the U.S. was estimated to stand at around 55 million, an increase of 2 million people since 2014.
Given that an increasing number of workers are using a series of gigs to replace the traditional employment model, instead of just supplementing their incomes with side jobs, the article’s authors point out that President-elect Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, sometimes called “Obamacare”) could have a dramatic impact on gig workers. Currently, the law allows individuals to buy insurance on health care exchanges, which has been credited with freeing people from the reliance on employers for health insurance, says Tribune reporter Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz. Replacing the ACA with an alternative model could come at a cost to gig workers, if this prominent feature is not replicated.
Sharing economy businesses should pay close attention to the healthcare proposals floated by the Trump administration in the New Year. If they end up forcing workers into more-established work arrangements, that could present a drag on the availability of workers to perform gigs to help grow your business. Given that Trump and the incoming Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder seem intent on supporting the new economy, one would hope that an alternative arrangement is offered to counteract this potential effect.