US Can't Ignore 'Shadow' Labor Market of Freelancers

Even 'independent workers need a net when they fall'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2010 1:19 PM CDT
US Can't Ignore 'Shadow' Labor Market of Freelancers
Job seekers wait in line at a jobs fair in San Jose.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

News that more people are choosing to go freelance in the labor market has Derek Thompson a little worried. The flexibility may be appealing, especially to the younger set, but this "freelance market has grown in the last decade into something like a skyscraper built on string and haystacks: a lot of workers with zero foundation," Thompson blogs at the Atlantic.

Most independent workers don't get health insurance or qualify for jobless benefits. "So when freelancers go out on their own, they are, rather literally, out on their own," Thompson writes. In an economy "where the marginally attached are truly marginal, perhaps that's a government failure one can ignore. But as the gigs go mainstream, policymakers will have to think about counting and providing for this shadow labor market. Even intrepid independent workers need a net when they fall." (More temporary employment stories.)

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