Uber says an increasing number of its drivers are working for the car-sharing service while holding other jobs.
Sixty-nine percent of drivers have another full- or part-time job on top of their work with Uber, compared with 62 percent last year, according to a company-sponsored survey.
The number of drivers who said that Uber represented their only source of personal income also fell 4 percent from last year.
The findings lend credence to recent company arguments as a debate rages over whether it should classify its workers, currently labeled independent contractors, as employees who would get access to benefits and other protections.
“People are using Uber who are struggling to pay bills, who are looking to earn a little extra spending money or are transitioning between jobs,” Uber executive and former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said during a November speech in Washington.
The relationship that the workers have with Uber is a crucial part of the debate over the drivers’ classification. Under the law, the degree of control that an employer has over workers' lives weighs heavily on whether that worker is considered an employee.
Some politicians have expressed concerns about the rise of companies, like Uber, that comprise the on-demand economy. Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerSenate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches Overnight Cybersecurity: Georgia accuses DHS of trying to hack election system Overnight Finance: Senate Dems dig in as shutdown looms | Trump taps fast-food exec for Labor chief | Portland's new CEO tax MORE (D-Va.), for example, has called for legislation to create a safety net for the workers.
Uber is also fighting a class-action lawsuit filed by drivers in California who say that they are employees. It is expected to be argued in June.
Researchers conducted interviews with 833 Uber drivers for the study, which has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.