No surprise, the growth in new job creation has fallen off in April. It was 160,000. Not the 205,000 economists anticipated. The global economy seems to have hit a wall. And some new initiatives may be delayed until a new U.S. president is elected. Then the direction of policies will be clearer.
But we in the gig economy are not focused on what's happening in the traditional job market. What we fight for every day is to earn a living wage from day or piece work. And on that front there is good news.
According to the Department of Labor, wages are on the way up. I can feel it in my business. Prospects balk less about what I request.
The official increase in wages in general is 0.3%. Here are details from The Wall Street Journal.
In a sense I have returned to how my immigrant family financially survived. Either they earned a hourly wage or did piece work in factories in Manhattan.
What has changed are the conditions.
Instead of a supervisor roaming the factory floor with a grim look (as in the novels of Charles Dickens), those who hire me know it's in their self-interest to treat me as a professional. Also, training me to do it their way represents an investment in me. It's also in their self-interest to provide incentives for me to remain working for them. Often, I receive bonuses. And, thanks to technology, I don't have to commute, as they did, from Jersey City, New Jersey, to Manhattan.
Meanwhile, there is a surge in the number of on-demand-economy job boards. Sure, we can pitch on our own for assignments. Also we can network. But, it's easier to just routinely click on those sites, analyze what is available, then put out soul into the cover letter.
A negative development on the help-wanted front is that Upwork, the biggest on-demand-economy game around the world, is raising the percentage it takes. Beginning in June, it will siphon off 20% from the first $500 in raw revenue on each client account. That means that if the project is billed at $100, we gig workers will only see $80 of that. Once the billing passes the $500 mark, the cut Upwork takes falls back to the current 10%.
That move is puzzling, given how much competition the site has. Mediabistro.com, for example, posts high-quality help wanted ad for no cost to the freelancer and takes no percentage of earnings.
Can Upwork survive? Since it's about outsourcing, a President Trump can penalize it with surcharges.