Unemployment's down but something's up: Welcome to the Gig Economy
Washington extended benefits to the jobless this week, prompting many unemployed folks to do a happy dance. It's been a frustrating few weeks to get to this point, and one of the things that almost derailed the measure was when unemployment statistics were released. They showed that unemployment rates in most states fell in June, fueling the venom among those disinclined to extend benefits to the jobless. Fewer people unemployed? Is that right?
According to the experts, it isn't that more people have jobs -- it's that fewer people are still looking for work. Apparently if you aren't looking for a job, the government doesn't consider you unemployed.
The insanity of this logic is that people must obviously do something to avoid living in their cars -- and what they are doing is working in the "gig economy." Instead of jobs, we now get gigs. Part-time work in our chosen fields where employers pay us by the hour, the shift, the legal case, the word, the blog post -- and that's all we get: the pay. Health benefits, paid vacations, sick leave, and pensions have no place in the new gig world order.