The pandemic has hit certain parts of the gig economy hard—many people are more reluctant to get into a stranger’s car, for instance, and may well remain so for some time after the pandemic ends. But other parts of the gig economy, particularly services such as food delivery that facilitate social distancing, have surged. Washington University’s John Barrios says that with unemployment at historic levels, the gig economy could play an important role in helping workers keep certain professional skills from atrophying, maintaining their human capital for an eventual return to non-gig work.

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