Headline September 28, 2019/ '' 'GIG ECONOMY GUM' '' : ! JOBS ?

'' 'GIG ECONOMY GUM' '' : 

! JOBS ?

MANY - MANY - STUDENTS AND PEOPLE use the gig work to survive difficult financial moments in their lives -

Such as being laid off or having their hours cut in a more traditional job. Their earnings from conventional jobs fell in the period just before starting gig work, on average, then recovered. 

HINTS OF APP-BASED WORK ARE creeping into more traditional work settings. Last year, Walmart allowed its store workers to use their phones to swap shifts or volunteer for extra shifts.

On the surface, that is the kind of thing that could make a part-time job at Walmart more competitive with app-based work in which workers set their own hours.

But its taking place in the context of an employer that uses traditional pay-roll employees, with some of the accompanying benefits : not just health care and insurance against injury on the job, but also training and opportunity for promotion.

Business has been on a multi-decade campaign to shift from economic risk from its balance sheet onto its work force - through de-unionization, routine use of layoffs, outsourcing and the use of independent contractors.

NOT TOO LONG AGO, THE ''GIG ECONOMY'' looked as if just might be the future of work in America, and even in some advanced economies.

The rapid rise of digital platforms that let people earn money by driving passengers, delivering groceries, walking dogs or running errands for strangers raised the prospect that one day, many of us might turn to our mobile phones to find our next paychecks.

''Freelance workers available at a moment's notice will reshape the nature of companies and the structure of careers,'' said a 2015 subheading in The Economist.

But California's new measure requiring the state's gig work force to be treated as a conventional employees is only the latest sign of the limits of this approach.

The gig economy is looking less like the future of the labor market and more like a niche arrangement, applicable in a handful of industries and used primarily as a side hustle for people whose main household earnings come from a more stable type of a job.

On the workers side, an improving economy has made more traditional jobs more plentiful, and so those who prefer to have work with benefits and predictable pay can more easily find it.

And on the employers side, while the app-based gig work has been transformative in transportation and a few other industries, it seems not particularly applicable to many jobs, such as those requiring collaboration or specialized training.

''I think the platform economy is a really vibrant niche, and it really has changed certain occupations, with taxi and limousine drivers the poster child,'' said Matthew Bidwell, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who studies contract work arrangements.

''But there are good reasons that it hasn't changed most of the rest of the employment.''

In 2018, according to a Federal Reserve survey, only 3 percent of adults reported driving for a service like Uber or Lyft, smaller than the share whose gig work consisted of selling goods at flea markets and above the same as the share who walked dogs or provided house-sitting services for extra cash..

But even those numbers probably overstate how central this work is to the economic lives of Americans.

The share of the work force earning income reported on I.R.S. Form 1099 - the typical way that independent contractors are paid - rose by 1 percentage point from 2007 to 2016, according to a paper this year by Brent Collins of the I.R.S. and four collaborators.

Virtually all of this was based on the rise of online platforms. But strikingly, they found that growth was ''driven by individuals whose primary annual income derives from traditional jobs and who supplement that income with platform-mediated work.''

And fewer than half of those doing gig economy work earned more than $2,500 in 2016.

''What's happening is you're seeing more people using some of these new ways of getting work to supplement their current jobs,'' said Katherine Abraham, an economist at the University of Maryland and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

''Its not a story about a fundamental transformation of the way that people's jobs are organized.'' As the gig economy matures, it is becoming clear that every trend has its limits.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Economies & Jobs growth continues in the future. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Neil Irwin.

With respectful dedication to the Researchers, Economists, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

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