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Wage inflation and informal work
Despite very low unemployment in the United States in recent months, wage inflation has remained modest. This paper investigates the possibility that there is hidden labor market slack in the form of informal or gig economy work, which may help explain this wage growth puzzle. Using unique data from 2015 and 2016 that we collected through the Survey of Informal Work Participation ? part of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?s Survey of Consumer Expectations ? we find indirect and direct evidence for this hypothesis. First, we find that a measure of informal labor is negatively associated ...
Exploring Online and Offline Informal Work : Findings from the Enterprising and Informal Work Activities (EIWA) Survey
The growing prevalence of alternative work arrangements has accelerated with the rapidly evolving digital platform transformations in local and global markets (Kenny and Zysman, 2015 and 2016). Although traditional (offline) informal paid work has always been a part of the labor sector (BLS-Contingent Worker Survey, 2005; GAO, 2015 and Katz and Krueger, 2016), the rise of online enabled paid work activities requires new approaches to measure this growing trend (Farrell and Greig, 2016; Gray et al, 2016; Sundararajan, 2016 and Schor, 2015). In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Federal Reserve ...
Inflation and the Gig Economy: Have the Rise of Online Retailing and Self-Employment Disrupted the Phillips Curve?
During the recovery from the Great Recession, inflation did not reach the central bank?s 2 percent objective as quickly as many models had predicted. This coincided with increases in online shopping, which arguably made retail markets more contestable and damped retail inflation. This hypothesis is tested using data on the online share of retail sales, which are incorporated into an econometric model. Results imply that the rise of online retail has flattened the Phillips Curve, reducing the sensitivity of inflation to unemployment rate changes. Improvement in fit from just including the ...
The ups and downs of the gig economy, 2015–2017
A variety of researchers and public entities have estimated the prevalence of nontraditional work arrangements ? using diverse definitions ? in recent decades, and the topic has received increasing attention in the past five years. Despite numerous media reports that the prevalence of nonstandard work has increased since the Great Recession, not all sources agree on this point, and very little evidence exists relating to hours or earnings from such arrangements and their changes over time. Using unique data from the Survey of Informal Work Participation (SIWP), we describe changes in informal ...
Who counts as employed?: informal work, employment status, and labor market slack
Several recent studies find that as of 2015, a significant share of working-age adults in the United States participates in nonstandard work arrangements. Such arrangements tend to lack long-term employment contracts and are often referred to as ?gig economy? jobs. This paper investigates the implications of nonstandard or ?informal? work for the measurement of employment status and labor market slack. Using original survey data, we find that as of 2015 roughly 37 percent of nonretired U.S. adults participated in some type of informal work, and roughly 20 percent participated in informal ...