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This Is the Average Pay at Lyft, Uber, Airbnb and More

- Nicolas Rapp
Nicolas Rapp

The gig economy has been heralded as the freeing, efficiency-creating future of the American workforce. It’s a pleasing vision to many; laborers are sprung from the chains of their 9 to 5, free to craft their work schedules precisely as they’d wish—making potholders to sell on Etsy in the morning, doing a little TaskRabbiting in the afternoon; driving for Lyft, Uber and/or Via by night.

There’s just one problem with this footloose and fancy-free world of work: it’s hard to make ends meet.

Most sharing-economy workers make under $500 a month from such firms, according to data collected by consumer-lending startup Earnest. The sample, which included only gig workers who had applied for loans from the startup, has a selection bias, but the results are still stark.

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Charts show breakdown of shared economy workers' income - Nicolas Rapp
Charts show breakdown of shared economy workers' income Nicolas Rapp

While the paltry sum reflects how many people are just dabbling (as opposed to working full-time), it also highlights how tricky it can be to earn a living at companies that don’t actually “hire” workers. Lyft workers surveyed made, on average, just $377 a month, slightly edging out those who drove for Uber and earned an average of $364 on the platform. It’s perhaps telling that Airbnb paid out the most on average—$926—per month. Returns on capital (rather than labor) are pretty good these days.

A version of this article appears in the July 1, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline “Making Ends Meet in the Sharing Economy.”

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