RALEIGH — North Carolina ranks No. 49 on a ranking of states with the best and worst environments for gig workers, according to a new report.

That’s bad news for people seeking alternatives – or additional opportunities to augment their income – to conventional jobs. And the numbers come at a time with job openings showing a continuing drop in the Triangle.

And people want gig work in North Carolina – the state ranks 14th for gig work and “side hustle” searches, according to another report.

Ranked as CNBC’s Best State for Business and with a record number of people working in North Carolina, the gig jobs report is rare bad news for NC residents.

What’s gig work?

Investopedia defines the “gig economy” as “a labor market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers,” also called “gig workers.”

The recent report, produced by Agents Only, listed NC as second to last in the “Gig Worker Environment” category, which analyzed metrics like worker classification laws, cost of living, out-of-pocket insurance costs, and average tipping rate.

New York was last in the category at No. 50.

Job openings are down in the Triangle, but these 50 companies are hiring

Demand for gig work is rising—advocates for worker rights are concerned

A World Bank report released this July estimated that there could be as many as 435 million gig workers globally, and that demand for gig work increased 41% between 2016 and the first quarter of 2023.

But not everyone is celebrating these numbers.

“That boost is generating concern, though, among worker rights advocates about the lack of strong job protections in the gig economy, where people work job to job with little security and few employment rights,” writes Fatima Hussein in an AP article about the report.

NC residents are searching for gig work, according to a new report by Venture Smarter that analyzed search data. The study looked at which state residents were doing the most searches for terms like “side hustle” and “side gig.”

NC tied for No. 14 on this list alongside Virginia, with NC residents averaging 31,276 hustle-related searches a month.

“The data provides a fascinating insight into the disparities across the US for interest in starting a side hustle with Utah having nearly double the interest compared to Mississippi,” said a spokesperson for Venture Smarter. (Utah ranked No. 1 on the 365 average searches per 100,000 people; Mississippi ranked last with only 202 average searches per 100,000 people.)

Job openings shrink

The broader job market in the state may be experiencing its own set of difficulties. The number of job openings in the Triangle took a tumble this week, according to data from WRAL TechWire’s exclusive Jobs Report.

This week, the report shows a total of 227,461 active listings (not accounting for post duplications), a 2.5% decline from last week.

Here’s a closer look at the trend:

The exclusive WRAL TechWire Jobs Report aggregates data from 20 location-based job board searches.

As open jobs and opportunities fluctuate in NC, the state ranks No. 28 for "Opportunity & Competition," which looked at metrics like the number of restaurants and retail per capita and gig workers' annual earnings in 2022, according to the report by Agents Only.

Agents Only compared the 50 states across ten distinct metrics. North Carolina's combined score in "gig environment" (No. 49) and "opportunities & competition" (No. 28) categories placed the state at No. 44 overall. Image Credit: Agents Only


Below, we’ve gathered the latest upcoming job fairs, student-centric resources, and a list of Twitter accounts that track local job openings. If you’re a student looking for an internship or entry-level position at a local company or organization, your university has resources to help you get started. Quick links below:

For Johnston County job seekers: The recently launched JoCo Careers website helps job seekers find companies hiring in Johnston County. (More TechWire coverage here.)


Here are some locally run Twitter accounts that regularly share job openings in the Triangle: