The following article was written by Parker Adams – a recipient of a 2021 Superior Chamber of Commerce scholarship.  Candidates were asked to respond to the question: Discuss a business trend that has been impacted or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. How should a local economy cope with this change, and how can a chamber of commerce assist?



COVID-19 has put the world through uncharted territory like never before. Everyone has had to be versatile and adapt in ways that nobody could have expected. Social distancing, working from home, and wearing masks have become the new normal. The pandemic has altered the way individual businesses function, creating a ripple effect that spans past solely their employees. This ripple has torn through the economy, which has morphed greatly since the onset of this pandemic. Specifically, the gig economy has shown to have had one of the most notable changes.

The gig economy has been a fast incoming trend in the past few years, the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic exponentially increased its scope. The gig economy is a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. “Gig work” consists of freelance services such as remote or on-location admin support, writing services, meal delivery services, grocery delivery services, and car rideshare services. This influx of demand for gig workers roots from the fact that self-isolation due to the pandemic has increased the dependence to deliver various necessities, (goods and services) to consumers at home. On top of that, the pandemic has torn a gaping hole in the conventional, long-established 9-5 job environment. This has left many workers from all different sides of the wage spectrum to have their hours cut dramatically, or lose their jobs altogether. This has made gig work an even more viable option for these employees that need a secondary source of income, in some cases even a primary source.

As the world starts to more fully embrace this new way of working, which will undoubtedly continue to grow post-pandemic, our local Superior economy must plan for this inevitable shift and find new ways to support workers to ensure the gig economy’s long-term viability. There are plenty of reasons why local Superior employers choose to hire contingent or “gig” workers. These reasons include controlling labor costs, responding to large seasonal increases or decreases in demand, etc. The gig workers themselves get to reap the benefits of extreme schedule flexibility, and control over their work day. Although there are many pros, the most common complaint that is heard by contingent workers is the lack of benefits, such as healthcare and pensions. According to The EY Contingent Workforce Study, Almost 70-percent of contingent workers indicate that they would like to get more options for healthcare and pensions.

In order to address this issue, our local economy needs to incentivize gig workers to continue to provide their services to businesses all around Superior. Some of these businesses include Safeway, Boss Lady Pizza, Subway, Target, Crumbl Cookies, and Panda Express. These local businesses collaborate with delivery service gig workers countless times daily. In an effort to incentivize gig workers, the companies that employ them need to be providing them with more benefits. Delivery services such as Uber, Doordash, and Instacart are currently only able to provide minimal healthcare, retirement, and pension benefits to their employees. It would be beneficial

Giving these companies an incentive such as a small local tax break If they are able to increase their scope of benefits provided to their employees. This is helping to solve the most concerning issue that these workers face with their employment, making Superior a much more operational area for their work. When Superior becomes a more viable area for these gig workers, the local businesses benefit heavily as well. The influx of demand for gig workers, (delivery service workers specifically), to work in Superior creates a spike in demand for the local restaurants, grocery stores, and retail stores that are within Superior. By providing these small tax breaks I believe that the town will recoup their money that is given away through the tax breaks by the revenue earned in a new surge in demand for the local business.

The Superior Chamber of Commerce has a strong voice and presence within local government. I am hoping that with that strong presence they will be able to help push this plan through the due process of law. It is important that Superior, a fast developing town keeps up with the fast-changing workspace and economy regarding gig workers. This plan lays out the benefits that not only ensure the gig economy’s long-term viability by incentivizing gig workers, but over time will be a method of increasing demand for local businesses and boost this fast-growing Superior economy.


Parker Adams graduates from Monarch High School this year and will attend The University of Arkansas Fayetteville to study Business.