Employment in the ‘Gig Economy’ Is Precarious and Fraught With Anxiety
Even before the founding of the transportation company Uber in 2009, “the United States economy was rapidly becoming an Uber economy writ large, with tens of millions of Americans involved in some form of freelancing, contracting, temping or outsourcing,” reports The New York Times.
The decades-long shift to these more flexible workplace arrangements, the venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and the labor leader David Rolf argue in the latest issue of Democracy Journal, is a “transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for ‘employers’ and ‘employees’ alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built.”
Along with other changes, like declining unionization and advancing globalization, the increasingly arm’s-length nature of employment helps explain why incomes have stagnated and why most Americans remain deeply anxious about their economic prospects six years after the Great Recession ended.
Last year, 23 percent of Americans told Gallup they worried that their working hours would be cut back, up from percentages in the low to midteens in the years leading up to the recession. Twenty-four percent said they worried that their wages would be reduced, up from the mid- to high teens before the recession. …
Contingent workers still represent a limited corner of the nation’s approximately $17.5 trillion economy. But even many full-time employees share an underlying anxiety that is a result, according to the sociologist Arne L. Kalleberg, author of “Good Jobs, Bad Jobs,” of the severing of the “psychological contract between employers and employees in which stability and security were exchanged for loyalty and hard work.”
Read more here.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.Wait, before you go…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.Support Truthdig