How the Gig Economy will be Reshaping Work: Not So Much

Still, the data left many economists perplexed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for budgetary reasons, had not conducted its survey of alternative work since 2005. however in 2015, the economists Lawrence F. Katz as well as Alan B. Krueger conducted their own survey in which tried to mirror the bureau’s methodology. They found in which alternative work was more common — as well as growing far more quickly — than the data released on Thursday suggests.

Economists offered various explanations for the discrepancy. One possibility will be in which the boom in gig-type jobs was real however in which as the economy has enhanced, more people have been able to find traditional work. Part-time work, which surged within the recession, has fallen within the recovery, as well as employment by temporary-help services has leveled off. If true of alternative work more broadly, in which might suggest in which what many commenters interpreted as a structural shift within the economy was instead a temporary result of a weak labor market.

the item will be also possible in which the brand new data understates real modifications within the nature of work. The government’s standard tools for measuring employment have struggled to capture the shifting employment landscape. For example, the Current Population Survey, the monthly survey used to calculate the unemployment rate as well as different key measures, shows in which self-employment will be falling, even as tax data coming from the Internal Revenue Service has shown the opposite.

“The questions on our standard surveys don’t probe into the nature of these arrangements,” said Katharine G. Abraham, a University of Maryland economist who served as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics under President Bill Clinton. “We’re not asking the right questions, as well as they’re hard to answer anyway.”

The bureau’s data comes coming from an add-on to the Current Population Survey intended to fill in some of those gaps. however the item has shortcomings. The extra questions, for example, were asked only of people considered “employed” within the standard survey. in which might leave out people who earn income through activities in which they do not see as a job, such as selling products online or working erratically as a freelancer.

Professor Abraham said there was evidence in which workers struggled to accurately report as well as classify work in which did not fall neatly into traditional buckets. Some Uber drivers, for example, might consider themselves employees of the ride-sharing company, even though legally classified as independent contractors. Some workers in an Amazon warehouse might report being employees of the e-commerce giant, even if technically employed by an outside staffing firm.

Professor Abraham as well as different experts said, however, in which if there had been a big rise in alternative work, the item should have shown up within the latest survey. The fact in which the item did not, they said, suggested in which any shift had been relatively modest.