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COVID and the Gig Economy – By the Numbers

Offering flexibility and a better life/work balance than ‘traditional’ jobs, the gig economy has been thriving for a number of years in the US.The global pandemic changed the way we worked, paving the way for greater gig work opportunities.Offering insight into the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic transformed the gig economy is an infographic by Wage, providers of digital solutions for gig workers and companies looking to hire for gig jobs.Using multiple sources and data, the infographic shows how the gig economy has grown, which nature of gig work is in most demand, the benefits of gigs, and the future of this type of work.For anyone thinking about breaking into gig work, or for small businesses wanting to start using this flexible working arrangement, the infographic offers valuable insight and information.Gig Economy Doubled in Size in 6 yearsIn 2020, the gig economy grew by 33%, expanding 8.25x faster than the US economy as a whole. The same year, 2 million Americans tried gig work for the first time, and 34% of the US workers are now involved in the gig economy.Even before the pandemic struck, the gig economy was flourishing, having doubled in size in the last six years.Increasing Demand for Delivery ServicesOne of the fastest-growing gig services is delivery, including ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery, retail product delivery, and running errands. With nationwide lockdowns prohibiting travel and restaurants closed, delivery services became significantly more popular during the pandemic.Growth in the delivery services is forecast to continue and is expected to reach a total value of £200 billion by 2025.Other major categories of gig work include home services, such as construction, repair and moving, personal services like babysitting, hair and makeup and personal training, computer services, including data entry and phone repair, as well as automotive, and event and entertainment.Benefits of Gig WorkThe infographic also explores the benefits of choosing this flexible type of employment. Pointing to a survey that asked what people liked about a gig-type set-up, flexibility came out as the leading benefit, with 74% of gig workers saying they love the greater flexibility it provides.70% of gig workers say they are paid more than traditionally paid peers, and 58% say they have a better quality of life, working less than 30 hours a week.Future of Gig WorkThe research also looks at the future of gig work and how businesses plan to use the flexible type of employment.4 in 5 businesses are planning on hiring more gig workers post-pandemic, with 50% saying they have already done so.How to Break into the Gig EconomyThe infographic offers advice on the best ways to break into the gig economy. Being proactive by looking for openings, building a profile, and trying something new, can be effective steps into securing gig work.As can asking for reviews from customers to gain further work and going that extra mile to keep gig clients happy.Producing almost 6% of GDP in the United States, and with workers and employers citing the benefits, it looks like gig work is here to stay.Image: Depositphotos

Positive Week for Stocks Despite Another Big Jobs Miss

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Remember that jobs report we’ve been waiting for all week? Well, it wasn’t very good. However, the major indices took it in stride with only slight declines on Friday, leaving us with positive returns for the whole week. And now we can get ready for earnings season.The Government Employment Situation report stated that only 194,000 jobs were added in September, which significantly missed expectations for around 500K. The result marked a second consecutive month with a huge miss, though the unemployment rate did drop to 4.8%.So was this disappointing number still enough for the Fed to set a date on tapering? Or will they just delay it for now until the economic recovery heats up again? That’s the big question as we move toward the Committee’s next meeting.The market’s three-day winning streak ended on Friday, but the major indices handled the news well and slipped only slightly in the session.The NASDAQ saw the steepest decline of 0.51% (or about 74 points) to 14,579.54, but finished the week higher by nearly 13 points. It may not seem like much, but don’t forget that this tech-heavy index started the week on Monday with a 2% purge and lost more than 3% last week. All in all, it wasn’t a bad performance at a time when tech is under pressure.The S&P dipped only 0.19% to 4391.34, while the Dow was pretty much breakeven. Technically though, it slipped 0.03% (or nearly 9 points) to 34,746.25. These indices were up for the week by 0.8% and 1.2%, respectively.So the big impact of the week turned out to be the short-term debt ceiling extension, which pushed the deadline back to early December and gives Congress more time to keep the country’s debt from defaulting for the first time in history.With the jobs report now in the past and the debt ceiling extended, the next major event for investors is earnings season. It begins slowly in the latter half of next week with some of the big banks, including JPMorgan (JPM) on Wednesday. Then we’ll get Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) on Thursday, along with other reports spread throughout the week.Since we’re about to begin earnings season, it’s time to check in with our Director of Research Sheraz Mian. His new Earnings Preview article is fresh off the presses and titled: “What Will Q3 Bank Earnings Show?”“For the Zacks Major Banks industry, which includes these major banks and account for roughly 45% of the Finance sector’s total earnings, Q3 earnings are expected to be up +11.2% on +2.5% higher revenues,” said Sheraz in that article.“This would follow +298.1% earnings growth on -2.1% lower revenues in the preceding period (2021 Q2). For the Finance sector as a whole, total Q3 earnings are expected to be up +19.9% on +4.9% higher revenues.”Things are about to get a whole lot more interesting as we move into earnings season. So rest up over this weekend and get ready…Today’s Portfolio Highlights:  Surprise Trader: With the debt ceiling and the jobs number out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about earnings. The season unofficially begins late next week, and Dave made his first pick on Friday with Commercial Metals (CMC). This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is from the Steel – Producers space, which is in the top 25% of the Zacks Industry Rank. It has a positive Earnings ESP of 6.47% for the quarter coming before the bell on Thursday, October 14. CMC was added today with a 12.5% allocation, while the editor also sold KB Home (KBH) after this “choppy market took the wind out of its sails”. Read the full write-up for more on these moves.Headline Trader: “The stock market has slowly drifted lower from yesterday’s overzealous open (catalyzed by short-term debt ceiling relief). It was likely a sluggish trading day because institutional investors didn’t see a jobs report like this coming and had sufficient time to assess its convoluted implication.”The markets were looking for a “goldilocks” report, but this one came in a bit cold. This morning’s one genuinely positive headline figure was the unemployment rate, which fell to 4.8% from 5.2% in the month prior, much better than economists’ 5.1% consensus estimate.”I typically take the unemployment rate with a grain of salt, but this 20-basis point decline is significant enough to warrant an explanation. With labor participation declining from August, I surmise that this sizable drop in unemployment is likely related to gig workers going back to their “unaccounted for” flexible jobs, specifically drivers for Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT).” — Dan LaboeHave a Great Weekend!Jim Giaquinto
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