The gig economy, like the hospitality industry, isn’t working as well as many expected as the world emerges from its pandemic business slumber.
Similar to restaurants and hotels, ride-sharing operators are finding potential workers reluctant to join because stimulus money and unemployment benefits outweigh the promised compensation.
Uber and Lyft helped their drivers at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, eventually asking Congress to bail out those drivers.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi personally sought federal assistance for Uber drivers and, when they were included in the final package, made a statement commending the move.
But the businesses are now is finding it difficult to repopulate driver pools.
Faced with a very different labor market than before, Uber and Lyft may be scrambling to lure workers as the economy opens up and their services become popular again.
Former drivers, and potentially new drivers, are having a tough time making the math work when it comes to income.
Spokespeople for Uber and Lyft declined to comment for a Business Insider story, but earlier this month, Uber announced a $250 million investment in driver stimulus, full of perks and short-term incentives.
In the story for Insider, a current Uber driver received an offer from the company in March that guaranteed he’d make at least $2,100 in a month in fare and tips. Since he’s receiving $3,000 a month in federal and state unemployment payments, it’s a decision of whether to drive or just collect unemployment.
According to Insider:
“I need $2,400 a month just to break even. It shocked me they’d use that number,” he said.
The worker, who drives for Uber in the Bay Area, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear that speaking out could get him kicked off the app. He’s planning on remaining on unemployment until September, when the federal supplement runs out, he said.