The Obama Administration has been making headlines lately by claiming that the unemployment rate is dropping nationwide to 7.7%, the lowest in over four years. While many in the President’s circles are taking credit for this huge decrease, other notable economists are more skeptical. Many financial experts believe that this drop in the unemployment rate is due to the rapid rise in online freelancing as many Americans are giving up on finding traditional employment through “brick and mortar” companies.
Just today, the State of California is announcing that 1.1 million out-of-work residents will be losing their unemployment benefits unless Congress acts within the next 10 days, something that is highly unlikely given the holiday season. Yet, Nebraska news organizations are reporting the lowest unemployment numbers in the country at the same time. These two news stories seem to contradict one another, which is a contributing factor to the congressional stalemate.
In fact, Indiana’s NewsandTribune.com draws attention to this contradiction. While Indiana is reporting a significant drop in unemployment in November of 2012 with only 25,000 new jobs added, they are also reporting a ranking of 42 in the nation for growth in personal income for the average household. So how is it that the unemployment rate keeps falling, but the average American is still struggling to make ends meet?
The Toronto Star is reporting that one of the biggest booms of 2013 was in the Freelancing Sector. The Star estimates that currently 1 in 3 Americans are involved in freelancing in some way. They also project this number to increase to 50% by the end of the decade. Freelance Sites such as Fiverr.com are making the transition very easy. With a few clicks of the mouse, anyone can create an account and offer any type of freelancing service imaginable, from writing articles to creating websites. Nothing is off limits, and Fiverr has over 3 million “gigs” online to prove it.
Other leaders in the Freelance Revolution include oDesk and Elance who are now reporting a pending merger according to VentureBeat.com. Elance has been an active website for nearly 15 years and oDesk for 9, raising nearly $1.5 million for freelancing professionals combined. With numbers consistently on the rise, the merging of these two giants seems extremely practical and highly efficient for the average freelance professional. As the freelance community begins to recognize their soaring collective power, freelancing sites are beginning to make it easier for the average American to take advantage of these rising trends.