At an abandoned lot near LAX, meet the newest members of the gig economy

Work is changing as more and more people are taking jobs in the so-called gig economy. In fact, all of the net job growth between 2005 and 2015 was in this new economy, according to a recent study. More jobs depend on freelance, temp and independent contractors than ever before.

And older workers are most likely to have those kinds of jobs, with 23.9 percent of older workers finding themselves in the gig economy.

This was apparent during a recent visit to an abandoned neighborhood near LAX. Dozens of middle-aged Uber and Lyft drivers hang out here, waiting for a call.

Gordon, 53

I would rather have a decent job. I would rather have it where I worked eight hours a day and I made enough to pay my bills and, yeah, I’d rather have a job where they paid my health insurance. This is the only way I can make it right now. I’m 53 years old and I’m pretty much stuck with this right now.
Photo: Laith Al-Majali

I would rather have a decent job. I would rather have a job where I worked eight hours a day and I made enough to pay my bills and, yeah, I’d rather have a job where they paid my health insurance. This is the only way I can make it right now. I’m 53 years old and I’m pretty much stuck with this right now.

Ricardo, 52

Photo: Laith Al-Majali

If something happens what am I going to do? You know. No income. From where am I going to get income? I have a son, who’s 15, depends on me and my wife. I have to do something to survive and provide foods to my kids.

Angel

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Laith Al-Majali

There is no way I can support my family doing just this. I mean, I know it’s been a year and everyday I drive more. It’s been tough, but it’s still a bridge I have to cross and I feel like I am closer to the end. I am still crossing it.

Felix

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Photo: Laith Al-Majali

The good is I can set my own hours. I don’t have to worry about, say, other employees, depending on them if they don’t do their job because then I can’t do my job. That part is the good part. The bad part is once again this is not steady employment. There is no safety net.