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Need a side job? The 10 best cities for 'gig economy' workers

The gig economy has become typified by piecemeal jobs found on platforms like Uber and Etsy, but that's just part of a larger sea change in the American labor force: 54 million workers considered themselves freelancers last year. Here are the 10 US cities with the most opportunities for them, according to Thumbtack.

10. Charlottesville, Va.

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    A student walks across the Lawn in front of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., while the Rotunda was undergoing renovation (Feb. 20, 2013).
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Charlottesville is home of the University of Virginia and historical sites like Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello. Uber arrived on the scene in Charlottesville in 2014, and since then, it has been competing with local Charlottesville Yellow Cab service for drivers and business. So far, it appears that for drivers, Uber is the more lucrative of the two options. On a 2014 post on one Uber drivers' forum, one driver detailed making $268 in four hours over a UVA homecoming weekend. 

The so-called “gig economy,” typified by short-term, freelance work found through digital platforms like Etsy, Uber, Instacart, and many more, is no flash in the pan. The number of freelancers in the United States rose to 54 million in 2015, according to the Freelancers Union. Sixty percent of those made the leap by choice.

The gig economy is understood by analysts as a way for both skilled and semi-skilled workers to find meaningful work by setting their own schedules and, in some instances, be self-employed. Many participants in the gig economy report high rates of job satisfaction, and truly enjoy the work that they do.

However, the rate of adoption for the gig economy has not been universally even in every city where it has taken hold. Nor has each digital platform found the same niche among workers and users in every city. The 10 cities on this list have some of the highest rates of participation in such jobs. 

The data comes from a report produced by Thumbtack.com, a site that connects users with with skilled freelancers in a wide array of industries. Thumbtack looked at Twitter geolocated data to compile its research, estimating that the more Twitter followers a platform has in a given location, the more users and workers are likely to be using its services.

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