Gig-economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers may be skewing low unemployment numbers

Business Insider | 4/19/2019 | Allana Akhtar
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Unemployment numbers may not fully account for gig-economy workers, who may self-report as being "employed" despite not being on a payroll, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Gig workers do not have the bargaining power of payroll employees, so they may also account for slowing wage growth.

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Uber and Lyft drivers make up much of the country's gig workforce, and they've long complained about the low pay and lack of benefits independent contractors deal with.

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While unemployment may be at record lows, the growing number of gig workers who aren't on a payroll may be skewing the data, according to a new report.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas — one of 12 regional reserve banks that make up the centralized Fed — found that although unemployment is low, wage growth has not increased. One reason could be the rise of gig workers: The report found that the number of workers who pay self-employment taxes has risen steadily over the past 35 years.

Increase - Contractors - Unemployment - Figures - Firms

The increase in independent contractors may skew unemployment figures because firms can hire contractors without adding them to their payrolls. That way, independent contractors are not counted as "unemployed" despite the fact they don't work consistent schedules. Gig workers typically work on and off during the month, according to a recent study from the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

Another reason why headline unemployment may not account for gig workers is because of the use of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Business Insider
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