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Americans Supplement Their Income With Online Apps And Digital Jobs

Monday, January 02, 2017

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By Aaron Brossoit

Economic Developers Should Explore the GIG Economy

At end of 2007, Americans began to feel the effects of an economic slowdown that lasted until June of 2009. The 4 percent decline in gross domestic product wiped out jobs in every segment of the U.S. economy and wages froze. Five years later, communities are seeing changes in American work habits and new job segments are emerging. People who needed to find ways to supplement their day job turned to the digital online app world for part-time work. Many people have turned the digital jobs into full-time careers. So what are these jobs and who are these workers?

Aaron Smith, in the November 2016 article, Gig work, Online Selling Home Sharing, finds that 8 percent of Americans supplemented income from online platforms and 18 percent of Americans sold something online (Smith). In your communities, this equates to ride-sharing drivers, sellers on Ebay or CraigList, bloggers, online sales people, customer service representatives, or property rentals. High-speed access to all reaches of the United States allow people to supplement their income to make up for wage stagnation.

According to a Pew Research Study cited by Aaron Smith, most digital workers see flexibility as the largest benefit to online jobs. While the online app world is giving people an opportunity to find additional income, the online work is not equating to careers. In other words, people are supplementing their work, but they are not making career moves. Americans are using online jobs to put more money in the household budget or to save for a vacation; however, these same people are still working in their day jobs.

The mobile digital worker is still in its infancy as a career path. As the U.S. economy continue to switch to more professional or service jobs from manufacturing, more and more Americans are going to be moving to the digital world. This is an opportunity that community leaders and economic developers need to harness. High-speed internet will bring opportunity to rural parts of America where factories may be downsizing. The gigabyte economy is emerging.

Smith, Aaron, Gig Work, Online Selling Home Sharing. PewInternet. Org. 2016, ( November 2016.


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