Uber says it had 148,000 active drivers in California as of December, and 900,000 nationwide.

Uber paid out $1.07 billion to ride-hailing and UberEats drivers in the Bay Area last year, the company said. Throughout California, Uber drivers and delivery people made $2.97 billion. Nationwide, the figure was $12.9 billion.

The San Francisco company revealed those figures as part of the release Thursday of five economic impact reports looking at how its business affects riders and drivers in specific regions and nationwide.

“It’s very cool to actually have numbers for some of these benefits,” said Olivia van Nieuwenhuizen, a data scientist at Uber. “It gives more of the story of what’s happening with riders and driver, and why they use the platform.”

Uber said it had 148,000 active drivers in California as of December 2017, and 900,000 nationwide.

Many drivers are extremely part time. Statewide, 39 percent of them average fewer than 10 hours a week. In San Francisco, 60 percent of drivers put in fewer than 20 hours a week. That means that dividing the overall income figure by the number of drivers doesn’t yield a meaningful average income, Uber said.

Boston’s Economic Development Research Group, which Uber hired to produce the reports based on internal data, said Uber’s ride business contributes $1.6 billion in gross regional product to San Francisco’s regional economy. It did not look at the effect of Uber’s San Francisco headquarters or its UberEats business. That number derives from income generated by drivers and from workers in other industries when drivers spend their Uber income.

For the country as a whole, Uber’s economic contribution is $17 billion in gross domestic product (excluding UberEats and Uber offices), the report said.

Bay Area riders benefit to the tune of $2.3 billion annually “when considering cost savings, time savings, and added amenity benefits,” the report said. Nationwide, rider benefits total $17.6 billion.

Another interesting statistic: Almost a third of drivers — 27 percent — were unemployed before they starting working for Uber.

Carolyn Said is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: csaid@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @csaid

Original Article


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