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Unemployment benefits ending for 1.3 million today

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CNBC, CBS News, and all major news outlets are reporting that 1.3 million people will be losing their unemployment benefits today, some 3 days after Christmas, with another 1.9 million joining the ranks by the middle of 2014. Directly on the heels of the Obamacare sign-up deadline of December 26, the normally festive holiday season has not been successful in lifting the spirits of either the “out-of-work” American or the currently employed. And Congress and the President are both taking a direct hit in their polling numbers as a result.

A contributing factor to this lack of agreement between the two branches of government is the recently reported falling unemployment numbers from 10% in late 2009 to 7% in November of this year. However, many economists believe that these numbers are very misleading. Financial experts suspect that this rapid decrease is largely due to a rather significant yet undocumented rise in professional freelancing. The Dallas News is even reporting a “moonlighting” movement of part-time freelancing workers across the country as millions of traditionally employed individuals are still struggling to make ends meet and are in fear of losing their current full-time positions in the future.

Employers are looking at your social media accounts

For those who are trying to break into the world of freelancing or who are looking for full-time employment, many are surprised to learn that potential new employers are first reviewing the social media accounts of potential applicants prior to granting interviews or awarding the job. Employee Benefit News is reporting that many aspiring workers and freelancing specialists may easily miss out on many employment opportunities if their Facebook and Twitter accounts are not up to a company’s high set of professional standards.

Freelancing websites are growing in record numbers

Elance and Odesk have recently announced an intended partnering of their respective individual freelancing market strongholds, forming one single, massive community of self-employed professionals once the merger is approved by legislators. A relatively new player in the freelancing world of websites is Fiverr. Only three years old, this “gig” site has added another 1 million new freelancing specialists to its stable within a few short months. Fiverr now offers over 3 million individual freelancing gigs every day, starting at only $5 and ranging up to $8200. Just this month, Fiverr has even launched a mobile iPhone App that allows buyers and sellers to use their service “on the go”.

Freelancers have more opportunities than ever before to earn a living online. But, as sites like Fiverr, Elance and Odesk continue to expand and grow, the amount of online competition becomes fiercer by the day. This may be another reason why many people are choosing to get into freelancing “sooner” rather than “later”.

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