gig workers become more common

Half of respondents to the latest Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Survey of Informal Work Participation say they're "gig" workers, i.e. they engage in informal paid work.

New Strategist Presss editorial director Cheryl Russell notes that NY Fed researchers are beginning to explore whether the "gig economy" bodes a change in the definition of 'employed' status. Such work includes babysitting, housesitting, dog walking, lawn care, elder care, personal services (such as taxi service), selling online, renting property, consignment sales, and so on. Participation saw an increase with more work opportunities being provided by Uber and other online platforms.

"It is important to determine whether the meaning of 'employed' status according to the BLS might be changing over time," say the researchers. At this point, however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is not able to make that determination because it has not collected data on the informal (or "contingent") workforce since 2005—long before the likes of Uber appeared on the scene.

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