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Coronavirus will hit gig workers particularly hard

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Investors in the gyrating US stock markets might be forgiven for feeling seasick this week. On Wednesday, share prices rose more than 4 per cent after the Super Tuesday primaries and approval by the House of Representatives of an $8bn package to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

It is easy to see the reason for cheer: $8bn is far more than the $2.5bn initially suggested by the White House, and it will be mostly directed to hospitals and medical research. However, before investors become too excited, they should note what is sadly missing in this bill: a commitment to plug the holes in America’s medical and social safety net that have been exposed by the disease, known as Covid-19.

This matters. If these holes go unfilled, and the virus keeps spreading, this could exacerbate the potential economic pain. And, as US Federal Reserve officials know only too well, it is foolish to rely on monetary policy to cushion this blow — notwithstanding Tuesday’s decision to cut rates by 50 basis points.

To understand why America’s weak safety net matters, consider an issue that has sparked hot debate in recent years: the rise of the so-called “gig” economy, in which workers are paid piecemeal for contingent work, often linked to tech platforms, such as ride-hailing and food delivery.

Tracking the size of contingent activity has always been notoriously hard. However, economists estimate that about a quarter of American workers currently do gig work, considerably higher than in previous years, and nearly half of these rely on it as their primary source of income.

In some ways, the gig economy has been positive for US growth: the creation of new tech-related gig jobs has helped to push unemployment down to 50-year lows. It also seems to have kept a lid on wage growth and inflation, enabling the Fed to keep rates low.

But the dark side of this arrangement is insecurity. Contingent compensation is unpredictable. Gig workers generally lack access to company-funded unemployment insurance, sick pay and medical benefits. In Europe, this is offset by public safety nets; not so in America, for the most part.

Well-paid gig workers, such as software engineers, can cope with this insecurity by purchasing private insurance. But many gig workers are low paid and sacrifice this to join the pool of 27.5m Americans who lack health insurance. Others buy cheap policies that require them to pay the first several thousand dollars of medical bills themselves.

This creates obvious medical risks with the coronavirus. The cost of testing and treatment will deter some Americans from seeking care if they fall sick. Tales of sky-high bills are buzzing in the media. A Miami man says he received a $3,270 bill for a voluntary coronavirus test; an American evacuated from the outbreak’s epicentre in Wuhan China received a $3,918 bill for mandatory quarantine in San Diego. The lack of sick pay may encourage unwell gig workers to keep working. And many low-paid gig jobs cannot be performed at home. Delivering a pizza or driving an Uber car still requires a human.

If the coronavirus sparks a lasting downturn in travel, tourism and the retail sector, it will hit low-paid contingent workers particularly hard. Indeed, United Airlines cut domestic flights by 10 per cent and the threat of more could shatter confidence. This matters in a country where so many households live pay cheque to pay cheque that nearly one-third of American families could not meet an emergency $400 bill from existing resources.

What can be done? Congress could make coronavirus testing and quarantine, and perhaps treatment, free for all US residents who lack insurance. New York state has taken a first step by waiving co-payments for testing. But much more is needed. Laurence Boone, chief economist at the OECD, has suggested that governments should use “temporary direct transfers” of cash to support vulnerable households, if the virus spreads. That would deliver far more impact and reassurance than the vague pledge of $1bn in loan subsidies to small companies in Wednesday’s bill.

But American leaders must start a proper debate about creating a better longer term safety net for gig workers. California is doing this in a piecemeal and imperfect manner. However, federal action is needed. Congress could start by considering some sensible proposals on portable benefits from senator Mark Warner and the Aspen Institute.

But none of this was included in this week’s House bill. And Fed chairman Jay Powell knows rate cuts are not enough but is wary of wading too directly into policy matters. Therein lies a potential tragedy.

gillian.tett@ft.com

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Gig Workers Face Shifting Roles, Competition in Pandemic  | Voice of America

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NEW YORK – There were the two-hour, unpaid waits outside supermarkets when San Francisco first started to lock down, on top of the heavy shopping bags that had to be lugged up countless flights of stairs.  

And yet even after signing up for several apps, 39-year-old Saori Okawa still wasn’t making as much money delivering meals and groceries as she did driving for ride-hailing giant Uber before the pandemic struck. 

“I started to juggle three apps to make ends meet,” said Okawa, who recently reduced her work hours after receiving unemployment benefits. “It was really hard, because at that time, I could not afford to stay home because I had to pay rent.” 

Okawa is one of an estimated 1.5 million so-called gig workers who make a living driving people to airports, picking out produce at grocery stores or providing child care for working parents. Theirs had already been a precarious situation, largely without safeguards such as minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers compensation and health and safety protections. 

But with the pandemic pummeling the global economy and U.S. unemployment reaching heights not seen since the Great Depression, gig workers are clamoring for jobs that often pay less while facing stiff competition from a crush of newly unemployed workers also attempting to patch together a livelihood – all while trying to avoid contracting the coronavirus themselves. 

U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1% in June, a Depression-era level that, while lower than last month, could worsen after a surge in coronavirus cases has led states to close restaurants and bars. 

Marisa Martin, a law school student in California, turned to Instacart when a state government summer job as paralegal fell through after a hiring freeze. She said she enjoys the flexibility of choosing her own hours but hopes not to have to turn to gig work in the future. The pay is too volatile — with tips varying wildly and work sometimes slow — to be worth the risk of exposure to the virus.  

“We are not getting paid nearly enough when we’re on the front lines interacting with multiple people daily,” said Martin, 24, who moved in with her parents temporarily to save money.  

Alexandra Lopez-Djurovic checks her shopping list as she shops for a client in an Acme supermarket, in Bronxville, N.Y., July 1, 2020.

Alexandra Lopez-Djurovic, 26, was a full-time nanny in a New York City suburb when one of the parents she works for lost her job while the other saw his hours cut. 

“All of a sudden, as much as they want me to stay, they can’t afford to pay me,” she said. Her own hours were reduced to about eight per week. 

To make up lost wages, Lopez-Djurovic placed an ad offering grocery delivery on a local Facebook group. Overnight, she got 50 responses.  

Lopez-Djurovic charges $30 an hour and coordinates shopping lists over email, offering perks the app companies don’t such as checking the milk’s expiration date before choosing which size to buy. Still, it doesn’t replace the salary she lost. 

“One week I might have seven, eight, 10 families I was shopping for,” Lopez-Djurovic said. “I had a week when I had no money. That’s definitely a challenge.” 

Upwork, a website that connects skilled freelance workers with jobs, has seen a 50% increase in signups by both workers and employers since the pandemic began, including spikes in jobs related to ecommerce and customer service, said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork. 

“When you need to make big changes fast, a flexible workforce helps you,” he said. 

Maya Pinto, a researcher at the National Employment Law Project, said temporary and contract work grew during Great Recession and she expects that many workers will seek such jobs again amid the current crisis.  

But increased reliance on temporary and contract work will have negative implications on job quality and security because it “is a way of saving costs and shifting risk onto the worker,” Pinto said. 

It’s difficult to assess the overall picture of the gig economy during the pandemic since some parts are expanding while others are contracting. Grocery delivery giant Instacart, for instance, has brought on 300,000 new contracted shoppers since March, more than doubling its workforce to 500,000. Meanwhile, Uber’s business fell 80% in April compared with last year while Lyft’s tumbled 75% in the same period. 

For food delivery apps, it’s been a mixed bag. Although they are getting a bump from restaurants offering more takeout options, those gains are being offset by the restaurant industry’s overall decline during the pandemic.  

Gig workers are also jockeying for those jobs from all fronts. DoorDash launched an initiative to help out-of-work restaurant workers sign up for delivery work. Uber’s food delivery service, Uber Eats, grew 53% in the first quarter and around 200,000 people have signed up for the app per month since March — about 50% more than usual.  

“Drivers are definitely exploring other options, but the issue is that there’s 20 or 30 million people looking for work right now,” said Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy. “Sometimes I joke all you need is a pulse and a car to get approved. But what that means is it’s easy for other people to get approved too, so you have to compete for shifts.” 

Delivery jobs typically pay less than ride-hailing jobs. Single mom Luz Laguna used to earn about $25 in a half-hour driving passengers to Los Angeles International Airport. 

When those trips evaporated, Laguna began delivering meals through Uber Eats, working longer hours but making less cash. The base pay is around $6 per delivery, and most people tip around $2, she said. To avoid shelling out more for childcare, she sometimes brings her 3-year-old son along on deliveries. 

“This is our only way out right now,” Laguna said. “It’s hard managing, but that’s the only job that I can be able to perform as a single mother.” 

Other drivers find it makes more sense to stay home and collect unemployment — a benefit they and other gig workers hadn’t qualified for before the pandemic. They are also eligible to receive an additional $600 weekly check from the federal government, a benefit that became available to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Taken together, that’s more than what many ride-hailing drivers were making before the pandemic, Campbell said. 

But that $600 benefit will expire at the end of July, and the $2 trillion government relief package that extended unemployment benefits to gig workers expires at the end of the year. 

 

“So many drivers are going to have to sit down and decide, do I want to put myself at risk and my family at risk once I’m not getting the government assistance?” Campbell said. 

 

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Gig workers face shifting roles

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NEW YORK — There were the two-hour, unpaid waits outside supermarkets when San Francisco first started to lock down, on top of the heavy shopping bags that had to be lugged up countless flights of stairs.

And yet even after signing up for several apps, 39-year-old Saori Okawa still wasn’t making as much money delivering meals and groceries as she did driving for ride-hailing giant Uber before the pandemic struck.

“I started to juggle three apps to make ends meet,” said Okawa, who recently reduced her work hours after receiving unemployment benefits. “It was really hard, because at that time, I could not afford to stay home because I had to pay rent.”

Okawa is one of an estimated 1.5 million so-called gig workers who make a living driving people to airports, picking out produce at grocery stores or providing childcare for working parents. Theirs had already been a precarious situation, largely without safeguards such as minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers compensation and health and safety protections.

But with the pandemic pummeling the global economy and U.S. unemployment reaching heights not seen since the Great Depression, gig workers are clamoring for jobs that often pay less while facing stiff competition from a crush of newly unemployed workers also attempting to patch together a livelihood – all while trying to avoid contracting the coronavirus themselves.

U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1% in June, a Depression-era level that, while lower than last month, could worsen after a surge in coronavirus cases has led states to close restaurants and bars.

Marisa Martin, a law school student in California, turned to Instacart when a state government summer job as paralegal fell through after a hiring freeze. She said she enjoys the flexibility of choosing her own hours but hopes not to have to turn to gig work in the future. The pay is too volatile — with tips varying wildly and work sometimes slow — to be worth the risk of exposure to the virus.

“We are not getting paid nearly enough when we’re on the front lines interacting with multiple people daily,” said Martin, 24, who moved in with her parents temporarily to save money.

Alexandra Lopez-Djurovic, 26, was a full-time nanny in a New York City suburb when one of the parents she works for lost her job while the other saw his hours cut.

“All of a sudden, as much as they want me to stay, they can’t afford to pay me,” she said. Her own hours were reduced to about eight per week.

To make up lost wages, Lopez-Djurovic placed an ad offering grocery delivery on a local Facebook group. Overnight, she got 50 responses.

Lopez-Djurovic charges $30 an hour and coordinates shopping lists over email, offering perks the app companies don’t such as checking the milk’s expiration date before choosing which size to buy. Still, it doesn’t replace the salary she lost.

“One week I might have seven, eight, 10 families I was shopping for,” Lopez-Djurovic said. “I had a week when I had no money. That’s definitely a challenge.”

Upwork, a website that connects skilled freelance workers with jobs, has seen a 50% increase in signups by both workers and employers since the pandemic began, including spikes in jobs related to ecommerce and customer service, said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork.

“When you need to make big changes fast, a flexible workforce helps you,” he said.

Maya Pinto, a researcher at the National Employment Law Project, said temporary and contract work grew during Great Recession and she expects that many workers will seek such jobs again amid the current crisis.

But increased reliance on temporary and contract work will have negative implications on job quality and security because it “is a way of saving costs and shifting risk onto the worker,” Pinto said.

It’s difficult to assess the overall picture of the gig economy during the pandemic since some parts are expanding while others are contracting. Grocery delivery giant Instacart, for instance, has brought on 300,000 new contracted shoppers since March, more than doubling its workforce to 500,000. Meanwhile, Uber’s business fell 80% in April compared with last year while Lyft’s tumbled 75% in the same period.

For food delivery apps, it’s been a mixed bag. Although they are getting a bump from restaurants offering more takeout options, those gains are being offset by the restaurant industry’s overall decline during the pandemic.

Gig workers are also jockeying for those jobs from all fronts. DoorDash launched an initiative to help out-of-work restaurant workers sign up for delivery work. Uber’s food delivery service, Uber Eats, grew 53% in the first quarter and around 200,000 people have signed up for the app per month since March — about 50% more than usual.

“Drivers are definitely exploring other options, but the issue is that there’s 20 or 30 million people looking for work right now,” said Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy. “Sometimes I joke all you need is a pulse and a car to get approved. But what that means is it’s easy for other people to get approved too, so you have to compete for shifts.”

Delivery jobs typically pay less than ride-hailing jobs. Single mom Luz Laguna used to earn about $25 in a half-hour driving passengers to Los Angeles International Airport. When those trips evaporated, Laguna began delivering meals through Uber Eats, working longer hours but making less cash. The base pay is around $6 per delivery, and most people tip around $2, she said. To avoid shelling out more for childcare, she sometimes brings her 3-year-old son along on deliveries.

“This is our only way out right now,” Laguna said. “It’s hard managing, but that’s the only job that I can be able to perform as a single mother.”

Other drivers find it makes more sense to stay home and collect unemployment — a benefit they and other gig workers hadn’t qualified for before the pandemic. They are also eligible to receive an additional $600 weekly check from the federal government, a benefit that became available to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Taken together, that’s more than what many ride-hailing drivers were making before the pandemic, Campbell said.

But that $600 benefit will expire at the end of July, and the $2 trillion government relief package that extended unemployment benefits to gig workers expires at the end of the year.

“So many drivers are going to have to sit down and decide, do I want to put myself at risk and my family at risk once I’m not getting the government assistance?” Campbell said.



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Gig Based Business Market 2020 – Production, Supply, Demand, Analysis & Forecast to 2025

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Gig Based Business  Market 2020 – Production, Supply, Demand, Analysis & Forecast to 2025

Growth forecast on “ Gig Based Business Market Size | Industry Segment by Applications (Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Project Worker, Part-Time, Other, Gig Based Business is mainly used in following Application groups: Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Project Worker and Part-Time and Others. And Freelancers are the most widely used group which takes up about 36.54% of the global market in 2019), by Type (APP-based, Website-based and Website-based is the most widely used types which takes up about 52% of the total sales in 2019), Regional Outlook, Market Demand, Latest Trends, Gig Based Business Industry Share & Revenue by Manufacturers, Company Profiles, Growth Forecasts – 2025.

The Gig Based Business market research report delivers a qualitative and quantitative assessment of this industry vertical and contains crucial insights pertaining to revenue predictions, industry remuneration, market size, and valuation over the analysis timeframe.

The document measures the key factors which are positively influencing the industry landscape in terms of market growth as well as sales generation. Furthermore, it offers comprehensive analysis of the major market trends and their impact on the overall business outlook.

Request Sample Copy of this Report @ https://www.aeresearch.net/request-sample/236302

Key aspects of Gig Based Business market report:

  • Growth rate
  • Current market trends
  • Competitive ranking analysis
  • Industry drivers
  • Effect of COVID-19 outbreak
  • Market concentration ratio
  • Regional bifurcation
  • Consumption growth rate

Regional analysis of Gig Based Business market:

Gig Based Business Market Segmentation: Americas, APAC, Europe, Middle East & Africa.

An overview of the regional landscape of Gig Based Business market:

  • Market share generated by all the geographies listed.
  • Consumption graphs of each region.
  • Expected revenues every terrain will accumulate over the forecast period.
  • Growth rate predictions.

Product landscape and application scope of Gig Based Business market:

Product landscape:

Product types: APP-based, Website-based and Website-based is the most widely used types which takes up about 52% of the total sales in 2019

Key factors mentioned in the report:

  • Consumption graphs of all the product varieties
  • Product sales
  • Estimated revenues accrued by each product
  • Market share garnered by every product fragment

Application Landscape:

Application segmentation: Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Project Worker, Part-Time, Other, Gig Based Business is mainly used in following Application groups: Freelancer, Independent Contractor, Project Worker and Part-Time and Others. And Freelancers are the most widely used group which takes up about 36.54% of the global market in 2019

Insights provided by the document:

  • Consumption patterns of all applications listed.
  • Industry share of each application fragment.
  • Revenue projections of every application fragment during the forecast period.

Additional details specified in the document:

  • The study inspects the hindering factors that may adversely influence the overall market outlook.
  • A granular assessment of the factors that are projected to impact the commercialization graph of the Gig Based Business market over the study period.

Competitive arena of the Gig Based Business market:

Major players in the Gig Based Business market: TaskRabbit, Favor Delivery, BellHops, HopSkipDrive, Freelancer, Guru.com, Fiverr, Rover, DoorDash, Upwork and Turo

Key aspects listed in the report:

  • Data regarding the product sales
  • Market share as well as value predictions of major companies
  • Pricing models of the manufactured goods/services
  • Sales area & distribution scope

The report’s major objectives include:

  • To establish a comprehensive, factual, annually updated and cost-effective information based on performance, capabilities, goals and strategies of the world’s leading companies.
  • To help current suppliers realistically assess their financial, marketing and technological capabilities vis-a-vis leading competitors.
  • To assist potential market entrants in evaluating prospective acquisitions and joint venture candidates.
  • To complement organizations’ internal competitor information gathering efforts by providing strategic analysis, data interpretation and insight.
  • To identify the least competitive market niches with significant growth potential.

Request Customization on This Report @ https://www.aeresearch.net/request-for-customization/236302

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