Freelance Workers on the Rise Amid Slow Economic Recovery

Job in the Employment Section of NewspaperWith unemployment rates still high, and a rocky economic recovery, more and more Americans have been forced to work odd jobs and take work as it comes.

For many residents of California, this has become the norm. With 16.2% of people in the state either jobless, looking for work or not working enough, finding a consistent job has become a seemingly unachievable goal.

Not only does this bleak outlook on steady employment discourage job seekers, it is also a major factor in filing for bankruptcy. Unemployment and underemployment are contributors to bankruptcy, and 1 in 70 American households, and 322 in a million American adults, file for bankruptcy.

Among all of this financial and employment uncertainty, a new trend is gripping the nation in the form of freelancing and off–the–books jobs. While many are happy with this type of work, enjoying not having a set schedule and having no boss to answer to, an inconsistent job also means no employer–provided benefits and unreliable paychecks.

This is not only worrisome for the future of the country’s economy, but also for the well–being of these types of workers. The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues points out that many freelancers and day–to–day workers suffer from poor self esteem and are at higher risk for alcohol abuse and depression.

This trend has also cost state and federal programs valuable tax revenue and has caused an increase in insurance premiums due to injuries incurred by illegally uninsured employees.

For some, however, freelance work is their only option. A growing number of college graduates are freelancing and picking up odd jobs as they tirelessly search for something more permanent.

Recent college graduate Jacob Sundstrom is one example. Despite his aspirations of becoming a sportswriter, he was unable to find a full time job after graduating. He now rises early each morning to distribute his resume to potential employers and then spends the day freelancing articles and picking up work as it comes.

The increase in freelance work may be a welcome change to some, but for others it is an act of desperation as they seek consistency in these hard economic times.

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