There has been strong growth in the number of gig economy and side hustle businesses in Queensland, according to ABS business counts data published last Thursday (see chart below). Topping the list of industries (at the 4-digit ANZSIC level) by the growth in business numbers in Queensland in 2018-19 was Management Advice and Related Consulting Services, which is the industry I expect my business is counted in, along with a wide variety of other consulting businesses. There were an additional 824 businesses in this industry by the end of 2018-19, a strong growth rate of 6.2%. The bulk of the growth that occurred in this industry was in non-employing businesses, i.e. sole traders, which increased by 520 businesses.
In the ABS data, you can also see the impacts of Uber, on the growth in the number of Taxi and Other Road Transport businesses, and of e-commerce, on the growth in the number of Non-Store Retailing businesses. Far-North-Queensland-based economist Pete Faulkner has also noted the rise of the Uber driver in his latest post:
Business counts data shows the rise of the Uber driver
Of course, it’s pretty easy to get an Australian Business Number (ABN), so the data don’t necessarily tell us anything about the strength of the economy, which as I noted earlier this week isn’t running hot at the moment (see my Qld Hot or Not Update Presentation post). Moreover, in part, the growing number of gig economy businesses could reflect diminishing opportunities to pursue traditional careers as companies increasingly try to run lean-and-mean.
Regarding the pros and cons of the gig economy, check out my Economics Explained episode from last October The Gig Economy with Darren Brady Nelson.
If you’re contemplating becoming part of the gig economy or trying a side hustle, consider reading Seth Godin’s brilliant book This is Marketing, which I reviewed soon after it was published in late 2018:
A year late mate but better late than never?