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Gig Economy Incomes are Shrinking as Workers Flood Apps

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For years, Jennell Lévêque has been getting up early and swiping through her phone in the hope that Amazon Flex would drop some shifts for delivery drivers and that she’d be quick enough to nab one. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, even with six apps open for various delivery platforms, Lévêque has gotten barely any jobs delivering packages, meals, or groceries. The Facebook group she runs for Instacart workers, meanwhile, is deluged with requests from new shoppers who want to join.

Before the pandemic, there were millions of people like Lévêque who could make a living, or at least earn decent pocket money, off gig work: driving people from the airport to distant homes, delivering dinners, designing logos for strangers half a world away. But as the U.S. unemployment rate approaches 15% and as the International Monetary Fund predicts a 3% contraction in the global economy, people who have relied on gig work for income are seeing their earnings plummet as more people compete for jobs.

“Each week is getting worse and worse with every platform,” says Lévêque, who is in her forties and whose lament is borne out by company numbers. Upwork says it has seen a 50% increase in freelancer sign-ups since the pandemic began. Talkdesk, a customer service provider that has launched a gig economy platform, got 10,000 new applications for gig work in 10 days. Instacart hired 300,000 additional workers in a month and said in late April it planned to add 250,000 more.

Though more people are having food delivered, receiving packages from Amazon and searching online for their graphic design and customer service needs, the surge of new workers has upended the law of supply and demand in the gig economy. Put simply, with at least 36 million newly jobless people in America alone as of mid-May, there are now too many would-be workers to make the gig economy viable for many of them, and this may be irreversible as companies adapt to the reality of a global recession. By keeping head counts low, they’ll drive more desperate people into the gig economy, expanding the potential labor pool for jobs and driving down the prices that workers can command.

“The rates on DoorDash and Uber Eats are the lowest I’ve ever seen, but they’re all bad right now,” says Lévêque, who’s watched the trend unfold in recent weeks. Apps like Amazon Flex, whose drivers use their personal vehicles to make deliveries for the company, “drop” or release jobs at a certain time, and Lévêque and other drivers say that these jobs are snapped up within seconds. Some Amazon Flex drivers have taken to sitting in parking lots near Amazon warehouses in hopes this will help them beat the competition.

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Apps like Instacart send “offers,” which let workers see how many groceries a customer has ordered, how much they’ll get paid, and what the tip will be. On some apps, these offers are lower than ever, Lévêque says. (Instacart says its shoppers are earning 60% more per batch of orders they complete in part because tips have nearly doubled, and that while they may not see the same volume of orders as they did before, the average number of batches has stayed essentially the same.) As we talked, Lévêque turned down a food delivery offer for $3 because it wasn’t worth the gas she’d have to use. Another driver named Kevin, 43, who didn’t want his last name used because he doesn’t want his full-time job to know that he drives on the side, says Amazon Flex shifts now pay around $18-20 an hour, down from $28-$32 an hour before the pandemic.

As more workers rush to apps, there’s also a rise in people trying to take advantage of their desperation. Hustlers are launching bots that use algorithms to grab jobs before humans can and then charge potential workers to use these bots, says Matthew Telles, a longtime Instacart shopper who has been outspoken about the platform’s flaws. The so-called “grabber bots” take a bunch of jobs as soon as they come out, which means only people who have the bots installed can find work. Instacart shoppers pay a fee to use the bots, which are also a problem on services like Amazon Flex. Instacart in particular “has become a target for these exploitative apps that force laborers to pay just to get them access,” Telles says. (Instacart says that using unauthorized third parties in an effort to secure more batches is not permitted and that anyone found to be doing so will be deactivated.)

Delivery drivers like Lévêque have one advantage—they are only competing for jobs with people from their own geographic area. On sites like Fiverr and Upwork, where people can sell services as diverse as logo design, digital marketing and voice acting, workers are competing with others from around the world. Anyone with an internet connection can vie for these gigs, and the worse the global economy gets in the wake of COVID-19, the more people will stream on these sites looking for work. The World Bank estimates that COVID-19 will cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998.

A crowd of delivery drivers waits to pick up orders from &Pizza on March 19, 2020 in Washington D.C.

A crowd of delivery drivers waits to pick up orders from &Pizza on March 19, 2020 in Washington D.C.

Bill O’Leary—The Washington Post/Getty Images

“It’s a race to the bottom, honestly,” says Melanie Nichols, a 40-year-old marketer who has been freelancing for tech startups in Los Angeles for seven years. With business slowing in the wake of the pandemic, Nichols created an Upwork account from England, where she was staying with family, and tried to earn some extra money. Before the pandemic, she could charge between $100 to $150 an hour to clients, whom she’d meet in person or through referrals. On Upwork, she says, clients advertise jobs that require the same amount of work but pay $50 an hour, or less. Getting those jobs is nearly impossible—Nichols says she’s applied for 20 since March and heard back from four. One led to an actual paying gig, which ended up being more work than she was pitched, and so Nichols did 25 hours of work for 10 hours of pay. “Upwork seems to be such a good idea,” she says, “but I’d be curious to find people who are actually making money from it.”

Steven Lee Notar, 24, is in the same situation. He worked as a graphic designer at a media agency in Germany until the company first reduced his hours and then laid him off. He started advertising on Fiverr for services like designing online ads, posters and business cards, but says he has to set his prices low to get any orders. “A lot of people in my field have turned to the website,” Notar says. “It is a lot of supply but not a lot of demand.”

Sites like Upwork and Fiverr say the demand is still there. Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork, says that a third of Fortune 500 companies now use the platform, and that client spending has been stable since the pandemic hit. Upwork has not tracked whether freelancer pay rates have gone down, but Ozimek argues that Upwork’s borderless business model is good for gig workers because it gives them the freedom to find employers anywhere, not just in their city or country. “This is where the U.S. has the advantage,” he says. “The U.S. leads the world in skilled services, and our freelancers do find work all over the world.”

What worries some workers is that this scramble of competing with more people for lower-paying gigs is going to become the new normal as businesses try to stay lean by spending as little as possible. Twitter said Tuesday that going forward, employees could work from home forever if they so desired. But once people are working from home, what’s the incentive to keep them on as salaried employees? Arguably, companies could save money and balance their budgets by hiring overseas marketers or coders willing to work for less money and no benefits. Nearly half of the world is now connected to the Internet, up from just 15% in 2007.

Giant marketing companies like WPP and Omnicom have already talked about significant headcount reductions going forward and restructuring—they could turn to online freelancers once business starts up again. One survey found that as early as 2017, average hourly earnings on some platforms like Clickworker and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk were as low as $2 to $6.5 an hour.

There are signs this transition is already happening. Companies that are trying to grow online are hiring many gig workers on Fiverr, and Fiverr has seen an increase in demand for these workers, the company said on its earnings call in May. Fiverr hit all-time daily revenue records four times in April, CEO Micha Kaufman said. Nichols, the marketer, says she has seen big advertising agencies that have laid off hundreds of people hiring gig workers for marketing jobs on Upwork. Upwork said on its May earnings call that a multinational cybersecurity company used Upwork to find designers and developers, and a sports marketing agency hired software developers and animators on the site for projects. Aside from a moral obligation to treat workers well and pay them a living wage, there’s nothing to prevent more companies from jettisoning full-time employees and shifting to lower-paid gig workers.

They’d just be following what has been happening for decades in other fields. Just as manufacturing shifted overseas for cheaper labor and as gig economy apps drove down wages for taxi and delivery drivers, the pandemic has hastened the gig-ification of white-collar jobs. The gig economy might have been a crowded space before COVID-19, but the booming economy masked its workers’ struggles because many of them could find other jobs to supplement their income. Now, that extra work has dried up, and their desperation is more evident than ever. When gig work is the only pie that’s available to millions of people, sharing it means that some don’t even get crumbs.

Contact us at editors@time.com.



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GIG Car Share Chooses the Ridecell Platform for its Expansion into Seattle

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The United States’ Largest Free-Floating Car Share Company Uses the Ridecell Mobility Platform to Easily Track Inventory, Rent Vehicles and Automate Operations

SAN FRANCISCO, July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ridecell Inc., the leading platform provider for shared mobility operators, today announced that GIG Car Share, powered by AAA Northern California, will use the Ridecell High-yield Mobility Platform for its expansion to Seattle. Gig already uses Ridecell for its other operating cities, including Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area. The Ridecell platform enables Gig to operate its fleet efficiently while giving members a frictionless experience, including quick reservation on the Gig app plus keyless entry and Gig free parking locator within the app. Ridecell also keeps track of cars for easy service, cleaning and return, minimizing downtime and maximizing profitability.

Gig Seattle will begin with 250 brand new Toyota Prius XLE hybrid cars that seat five comfortably and provide outstanding fuel efficiency. The Ridecell platform provides Gig with end-to-end automation, instant driver verification, payment processing, on-demand scheduling, and custom analytics. In addition, the platform tracks vehicle locations to ensure safety and speedy service when needed.

“Gig has grown to be the largest* free-floating car sharing service in the country, despite the tough times most transportation services are facing,” said Aarjav Trivedi, CEO of Ridecell. “Gig’s great customer service orientation combined with our platform, has helped the company continue to succeed where other companies have faltered. We’re proud to continue our partnership with them as they enter the Seattle market.”

Ridecell offers the world’s only end-to-end platform for all types of mobility, including car sharing, ridehailing, and short-term vehicle subscriptions. The platform is designed to create high-yield mobility businesses for greater profitability. For more information, visit www.ridecell.com

About Ridecell

Ridecell helps companies build and operate profitable mobility businesses. With the company’s High-yield Mobility™ SaaS toolkit of intelligent software, business services, and ecosystem partners, Ridecell customers maximize three key profit drivers: customer experience, fleet utilization, and operational efficiency.

Founded in 2009, today, Ridecell powers some of the most successful mobility services in cities across Europe and North America. These services include ZITY from Ferrovial and Groupe Renault, Gig Car Share from AAA Northern California, and Blu Smart EV ride sharing service.

Ridecell is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with more than 170 employees in offices across the globe.

About GIG Car Share
GIG Car Share, a service from AAA Northern California, is the largest free-floating car share in the nation.* In three years, Gig has grown to more than 65,000 members and operates more than 1,000 cars across Northern California (Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento) and Seattle, Washington. The service launched in 2017 as the first venture from A3Ventures, AAA’s innovation lab based in Berkeley, Calif. Learn more at gigcarshare.com.

*Based on the size of its fleet as of 6/1/2020

Media Contact:
Jane Gideon
Tel: 415-682-9292
Email: press@ridecell.com

View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/gig-car-share-chooses-the-ridecell-platform-for-its-expansion-into-seattle-301089501.html

SOURCE Ridecell Inc.

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GEA, GIG Karasek (Dr. Aichhorn Group), Buss-SMS-Canzler, Swenson Technology, Technoforce – Bandera County Courier

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The report on the Global Circulation Evaporators Market features detailed insights and deep research. The report introduces the important factors which driving the growth of the global Circulation Evaporators market, untapped opportunities for the manufacturers, current trends, and developments shaping the global Circulation Evaporators market and other factors across various key segments.

In addition, report highlights the market drivers, future opportunities and restraints which impacting the growth of the global Circulation Evaporators market. Along with these, report also provides the changing trends which are directly and indirectly influence the market are also analyzed and incorporated in the report to gives the detailed information related to the market which resulting for better decision making.

The study encompasses profiles of major companies operating in the Circulation Evaporators Market. Key players profiled in the report includes:
GEA
GIG Karasek (Dr. Aichhorn Group)
Buss-SMS-Canzler
Swenson Technology
Technoforce
SPX Flow
Vobis, LLC
Artisan Industries
LCI Corporation
3V Tech
Chem Process Systems
SSP Pvt Limited.
TMCI Padovan
Hebeler Process Solutions
Zhejiang Tanlet Machinery
Wenzhou CHINZ Machinery
Shanghai Joy Light Industry Machinery

Available Sample Report in PDF Version along with Graphs and Figures@  https://www.innovateinsights.com/report/global-circulation-evaporators-market-2020-industry-analysis-size/256587/#requestsample

By the product type, the market is primarily split into:
Natural Circulation Evaporators
Forced Circulation Evaporators

By the end-users/application, this report covers the following segments:
Chemical Industry
Food and Beverages
Environmental Industry
Pharmaceuticals
Others

 Market, By regions:
– North America (U.S., Canada, Mexico)
– Europe (U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Central & Eastern Europe, CIS)
– Asia Pacific (China, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN, India, Rest of Asia Pacific)
– Latin America (Brazil, Rest of L.A.)
– Middle East and Africa (Turkey, GCC, Rest of Middle East)

The Circulation Evaporators market report provides the section which highlights country-wise demand for the Circulation Evaporators and provides a market outlook. The report also analyses the new technological developments as well as offerings for niche applications in the global Circulation Evaporators market. In last section of the report, a competitive landscape has been included to provide audiences with a dashboard view.

In addition, report explores the detailed market share analysis of the Circulation Evaporators market by considering the key manufacturers. Detailed profiling of the manufacturers is also included along with their business and growth strategies, key offerings and recent developments in the global Circulation Evaporators market.

Do You Have Any Query or Specific Requirement? Ask to Our Industry Expert@ https://www.innovateinsights.com/report/global-circulation-evaporators-market-2020-industry-analysis-size/256587/#buyinginquiry

Global Circulation Evaporators Market Report: Research Methodology

Market analysis is obtained through in-depth secondary research which is validated and verified by primary interviews. Every primary research is analyzed and average market volume is deduced and reconfirmed prior to incorporating in the report. The price of Circulation Evaporators is calculated across all the assessed regions and weighted average price is also considered. The market value of the global Circulation Evaporators market is thus calculated from the data deduced from the average selling price and market volume.

For future market growth, forecast of the global Circulation Evaporators market, offers the various macroeconomic factors and changing trends have been observed, based on which the future of the market is predicted. Other important factors covered by report includes the size of the current market, inputs from the supply side and the demand side and other dynamics shaping the scenario of the market. Report forecasts are offered in terms of CAGR, while other important criteria such as year-on-year growth and absolute dollar opportunity have also been incorporated giving clear insights and future opportunities.

Impact of Covid-19 in Circulation Evaporators Market

The utility-owned segment is mainly being driven by increasing financial incentives and regulatory supports from the governments globally. The current utility-owned Circulation Evaporators are affected primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the projects in China, the US, Germany, and South Korea are delayed, and the companies are facing short-term operational issues due to supply chain constraints and lack of site access due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Asia-Pacific is anticipated to get highly affected by the spread of the COVID-19 due to the effect of the pandemic in China, Japan, and India. China is the epic center of this lethal disease. China is a major country in terms of the chemical industry.

Access Full Report, here: https://www.innovateinsights.com/report/global-circulation-evaporators-market-2020-industry-analysis-size/256587/

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OECD publishes model rules for tax reporting by gig economy platform operators–MNE Tax

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By Francesca Amaddeo, Researcher, Tax Law Competence Centre (SUPSI), Manno, Switzerland

On 3 July, the OECD released model rules for tax reporting by platform operators that assist sellers in the sharing and gig economy.

Following international efforts to address the tax challenges in the digital economy, this OECD guidance represents an important step towards transparency through the exchange of information.

Digitalization has shifted traditional employment contracts to independent work and has brought together sellers and customers. Consider, for instance, how to peer-to-peer online marketplaces and food delivery companies have blossomed during the pandemic.

Many business sectors now exploit digital platforms to provide services, especially accommodation, transport, and personal services.

Activities, previously part of the so-called shadow economy, are carried on through such intermediaries, whose transactions and payments are recorded in electronic form.

Thus, tax administrations have a great opportunity to correctly assess taxpayers (both individuals and entities) involved in the gig economy.

Reporting platforms operators and due diligence rules

As is the case for the common reporting standard and the mandatory disclosure rules, intermediaries are the keystone of this new mechanism.

The model outlines reporting obligation for platform operators, i.e., entities which contract with sellers interested in providing their services to users through a specific software product.

Under the model, reporting platform operators are subject to rules introduced where they are resident, incorporated, or managed, regardless of where sellers and users are located.

Such entities must comply with specific due diligence rules. First, they must identify sellers subject to reporting requirements. All relevant data, including name, address, TIN, date of birth, or business registration number, must be carefully collected and verified.

This information shall be automatically sent to competent authorities and involved jurisdictions identified from data collected.

Automatic exchange of information usually ensures high-quality, relevant information to tax authorities.

Moreover, the timely transmission of information allows tax administrations to be aware of revenue earned by platform sellers, sometimes omitted on their tax returns.

Adoption of the model rules would enhance compliance and reduce burdens for taxpayers.

An information statement, including income earned through platforms, as fees, commissions, and taxes paid or withheld by the operator, would be provided to taxpayers.

Challenging goals

With this release, the OECD again provides model rules aiming to achieve important goals. 

Some states have already introduced unilateral domestic measures, leading to international gaps. The goal pursued by the OECD is to standardize reporting rules eventually adopted by jurisdictions on platform sellers.

Uniformity helps taxpayers comply with their requirements, especially when they carry on cross-border activities.

Uniformity also promotes international cooperation between different jurisdictions. International tax assistance is proving to be one of the most powerful instruments to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance.

The digital economy is still on the top of the OECD list. Even the European Union is discussing the introduction of a new directive amending the 2011/16/EU on tax administrative cooperation extending the exchange of information to data from digital platform providers.

As often happens in discussing data disclosure, a question remains unsolved: what about taxpayers’ rights? Are these measures proportionate to their scope?

 Let’s just wait and see.

Francesca Amaddeo

Dr. Francesca Amaddeo, PhD in European law and national legal systems, is an Italian lawyer that works as Researcher at the Tax Law Competence Centre, Department of Business Economics, Health and Social Care, University of Applied Science and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI).

Francesca Amaddeo

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