tv Whatd You Miss Bloomberg November 4, 2021 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
ridership. this is a margin game. ahead of the u.s. jobs report, were looking at the labor part of the gig economy that supports this like uber. taylor, you're looking at the silver lining? taylor: yes. we talk about drivers shortages. we are getting commentary. there is a huge increase in demand, and not enough drivers to meet the demand, that led to an increase in prices, but the ceo says that investment in driver growth is paying dividends and drivers are returning to the plat form, leading to further improvement in the consumer experience, talking about the number of active drivers in the u.s., up 60% versus this time last year. also trying to scale back some spending on driver incentives, which they had in place to get
all those drivers back on the platform. you knew the impact we had on prices when there were not enough drivers in the middle of the pandemic. romaine: yes, we felt that on an individual level in new york and other cities. it has boiled down to this idea of how drivers are compensated and treated overall and raises a lot of questions about the business model. caroline: and if you will pay $50 for a 10 minute drive. how sustainable is that? romaine: we will spend the next half hour talking about that, the gig economy in general. there was a great book cold the sharing your economy that looked at this business model and how it functions. the author that book is joining us now to talk about this. when you wrote that book, i don't think uber was a public
company yet. they are behemoths now, and there are broader questions about the sustainability of the business model. when you look at the earnings, do you still see sustainability? >> i do on the mobility front. i think i am happy to see that uber has grown significantly in their mobility bookings, backed close to $10 billion, about 75% of what they were in q4 2019, my pre-pandemic benchmark. lyft is up 85%. part of the surprises not just the outlook for q4, but the fact that the delivery bookings have flattened since last quarter, $12.9 billion last quarter,
$12.8 billion this quarter, suggesting either the market is saturating sooner than anticipated or uber eats is losing ground to doordash. the long-term prospects, the sustainability of the mobility business model, uber and lyft are demonstrating profitability. whether they should be doing that is a different matter. i think they should be losing money to gain market share, but it is a mixed bag in part because of the earnings forecast and the slowdown in uber eats. caroline: they are slowing down and more dependent on a cash cow , driving around, and you need the drivers. how are you seeing the tactics deployed in the statement from the ceo they made decisive action to focus on the drivers and bring them back, but would
that be a regulatory headwind as well? >> the next year will be a challenge on many fronts on the driver front. we have an incredibly tight labor market. there have been a number of other alternatives that people who might have driven in uber -- in uber or lyft. we now have a bunch of people drawn into these new 15-minute grocery businesses, like online shopping and local delivery. all of that has grown, so the labor pool has shrunk, and uber and lyft have managed to fulfill a lot of demand and keep bookings and average revenue per driver in active rider up despite prices have gone up to bring in the drivers, but the regulatory headwinds is an
intensifying of this question around how should gig workers be protected. we saw this battle play out in california last year with proposition 22, which was uber and lyft's plan to give benefits, and i thought that was a good solution, but i think it will be a lot of push towards trying to get the platform to take on more of the benefits and protection costs of their drivers, so compared to the trump or obama administration, it is a less friendly regulatory environment. taylor: we have heard that about bringing back good paying, union jobs, this effort to reclassify these gig workers as full-time employees or unions as well. you mentioned the regulatory risk in the prop 22 in
california, was initially it was like uber, doordash and lyft had won the battle, although the war is not over. what can we take away about that long-term war? >> i think it means it will be a series of battles in different states. i am hoping that with the other states learn from california's experience is that what drivers really want is keep the flexibility, keep the independent contractor arrangement, but wrap some good benefit rounded. we sometimes forget that full-time employment did not
come in the 20 century packaged with benefits. we painstakingly constructed these benefits around full-time employment over the century. now we need to decouple them from the employee arrangement and offer them alternative work arrangements. legislatures are slow to take this up. what i am hoping they will learn from california's experience is don't go out the gate with the union jobs in the full-time employment rhetoric, go out the gate with legislation that allows them to keep independent contractor status, but gives the platform responsibly for funding benefits. romaine: that responsibility aspect will be key. we know the way these companies have marketed themselves. this idea they were basically this neutral party in this transaction, basically
connecting one person to another. even the term ridesharing to a certain extent became a misnomer for what was taking place. how do you push back at marketing, against that general framing of what these companies claim to be? >> that is a great point. the reality is that it is somewhere in between. they are not hands-off marketplaces with no responsibility, but on the other hand, they should not be forced to assume all the responsibilities a full-time employer has assumed in the 20 century, because they are not that. they are somewhere in between, part marketplace, part traditional company, and as you have seen these companies evolve , you have seen him take off voluntarily regulatory responsibilities. airbnb is regulated.
uber takes on tremendous responsibility for making sure that drivers are vetted. whatever the rhetoric, the reality is that they are managed marketplaces, not like ebay, but we should not conflate them with full-time employees are traditional 20th-century organizations, which is why we need legislators to craft a good middle ground legislation that says here is the new reality, here is the extent to which we want platforms to take on responsibility, and here's what the government or individual needs to bear. caroline: we love your expertise and all these things. thank you very much. >> always a pleasure. caroline: check out his book, the sharing economy. coming up, the current labor
caroline: it is the big rebound. taylor: self-employed entrepreneurs are pre-covid levels in the u.s. the number of those self-employed rebounding to 14.9 million in the second quarter after falling to 12.7 million a year earlier. this is what we have been describing as the great resignation, maybe leaving your job because you want more flexibility. in many cases, leaving your job without a new job set up, because you have reevaluated all your priorities and you want that flexibility. caroline: you're juggling childcare, commute. romaine: sometimes that chart was considered a good thing in past cycles, when crises would shake people out, entrepreneurship, that was viewed as a good thing. in this environment, it is a bit more muddled. taylor: this brings up from the
company perspective the labor shortage they have been dealing on that side of things. let's do all of this with the ceo of workforce management platform home base. describe what you are seeing in this great resignation we have all experienced on some level. >> thanks for having me. we help over 100,000 small businesses manage their teams, and so we have had a really great view into what has been happening over the past year and a half, as small businesses have struggled through covid. first, through all the challenges of 2020, and now 2021, facing labor shortages, hiring, turnover within teams, and all the supply chain challenges, so it has been a hard two years for small businesses. caroline: it has. the labor issue is keeping ceos up at night. we spoke with the company that leases franchises for
restaurants, that is his main concern, and restaurateurs, they are not able to get the amount of people in the door as they would like. what are you seeing in the data as we progress? many felt was the stimulus checks ran out that people would come back into the workforce, is that happening? >> last year was a pretty fundamentally disruptive event in the labor market in total, and we will be dealing with that for a while. there are absolutely some short-term impacts working their way through right now. you have hit on a couple. you had a lot of people that were staying out of the labor market because of concerns around health and illness. that went down as vaccine rates went up. you had a lot of people responsible for childcare and
at-home as schools were closed, but the reality is you have other things that are more structural that changed last year, lower immigration, early retirement, and two moves. those are not solving themselves overnight. romaine: well said. with regards to the small businesses you work with, how do you do that? it's easy for a large corporation to say we will raise wages or allow employees to work from home. small businesses with those tied to the brick-and-mortar shops or service economy, they don't have that same flexibility in luxury, so how do you adapter that, or do just do it with your workers? >> i think the answer is all of the above. we are seeing small businesses absolutely increase pay rates to attract employees, giving pay rates to existing teams to retain them. at the end of the day, every
small business right now is doing more with less, and they need to be prepared to do that. technology can play a big role in that. it is a fantastic time to embrace technology that can help you with the administrative parts of running a business, payroll, accounting, but at the same time, it is important to focus on that employee experience. we interview our workers all the time. pay is never the most important criteria. it is important, but the world is no different now than it was pre-pandemic. people want a great work experience, the benefits, scheduling flexibility, pay, there are other ways to help workers have a better work experience and have worked fit into their lives in an easier way. taylor: i read an interesting quote that it's no longer about the ping-pong tables or free snacks, it is about watching the ceo leave early to pick up his kid from school, and the flexibility, and that is the
culture in a post-pandemic world that a lot of workers are seeking. are you noticing that as well in your interviews, as you're looking at the why behind the movement and the difficulty retaining talent? >> i think the reality is for as much as were talking about the great resignation in the big decisions people are making in what they want to do with their lives, there were some pretty profound impacts. two thirds of workers never work from home last year. the average worker in this country did not get to work from home, has not had the same kind of changes, so when we talk about the benefits and the kinds of things that matter, things like how do i know when i'm working so that i can plan around it? how do i get more control over the schedules of the shifts i am taking might work with my childcare responsibilities that are more influx than they used to be? i think there are still a lot of
practical problems we can solve that are going to make it easier for small businesses to hire and retain employees, but also will create a better work experience for employees. romaine: great stuff, john. we will catch up with you shortly, i hope, to get another update. he is the ceo and founder of home-based, which allows a lot of businesses to manage their workforce better and more streamlined. coming up, we will focus on antitrust law and how it is posing a hurdle to organizing efforts by gig workers, and wife there is a push to change that -- and why there is a push to change that. that is coming up. this is bloomberg. ♪
the ftc chair is pushing to change something. in what way is the ftc looking to change the law that would allow workers to get organized? >> the chair is pushing for change in different ways. lena, and as cold for congress -- she has asked for legislation to clarify the law and ask for guidance from the u.s. justice to artman, that would clarify current antitrust exemption should be extended to gig workers. romaine: there is talk about not only the antitrust law, but wage regulation. there is a nomination for a new chief wage regulator. that has been held up because of the same issues holding up progress on the other law as well. >> yes, exactly.
he is known as an academic and former head of a division that focused on the central tension in the gig economy and the courts, their status as independent contractor versus employee. taylor: what is the tone on that? we had a great interview with the professor from nyu focus on the gig economy, and you wonder what the academics and professors are thinking about the solutions, because we have heard the point of view from the companies themselves. >> absolutely. a lot of the academic community that is looking at the way the company calls it a model, but others would say they are mis-classifying workers, and
that means without being an employee, they don't have the right to a lot of basic benefits that we come to expect, like over time, minimum wage, health care benefits, and they have faced a lot of lawsuits in court, and a lot of academics saying they are trying to skirt liability by classifying workers as independent contractors. caroline: we want to thank you for the update when it comes to the law on this. it is interesting, as we look at uber, lyft, airbnb, this is a global story, in the u.k. as well. many want to see more protections for gig workers. romaine: i am glad you brought that up. the u.k., europe, and some south american companies, some pushback. taylor: and the tension in california, which is on appeal. i will have to look at the cases , but the battle is ongoing on
the war is still further in the future with no decisive thoughts yet. romaine: this sets us up for another monthly labor report in the u.s. tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. eastern time. taylor: our producers want to remind you this is the end of the show. this was final thoughts. caroline: this is bloomberg. ♪
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