Gig companies fear shortage of workers despite recession

“One of the biggest challenges in the part of the ride is creating a balance in the market and making sure you have enough drivers for each rider,” Lyft’s Green said last month. “And the two respond to different timelines.”

Then there is an unexpected factor: the country’s hastily built pandemic safety net seems to be working, leaving people less desperate. Like most Americans, performance workers received stimulus tests – one last year and a smaller one in January. (Another seems to be on his way.) For gig workers who previously had other full-time jobs, states extended the unemployment insurance payments. And for the first time, gig workers – and all other freelancers – were eligible for some form of federal unemployment insurance, $ 600 a week.

Gig businesses say they felt the impact. A Uber spokesman says the company’s data indicates that the number of available drivers has fluctuated according to the unemployment insurance policies. For example, when the stimulus hit the managers’ bank accounts, less was reported to work on the app. Adarkar, the chief financial officer of DoorDash, told investors last month that ‘on the one hand, a large influx of Dashers would be expected due to rising unemployment. But it is compensated to some extent by stimulus controls. ”

Research by the JP Morgan Chase Institute published in 2018 suggests that families tend to work online performances, especially to manage, after someone in the household loses a job and has to supplement their income. People basically sign up for gigs if they need extra cash.

Newer research of the institute found that the expansion of federal pandemic assistance and stimulus control programs to families, especially low-income families, provided more cash than before. At the end of the summer, the average household bank account had 40 percent more money than the previous year.

“I’m not surprised that people are not returning to platforms because the government has done a good job of meeting the needs of people,” said Fiona Greig, co-president of the institute. Pandemic assistance is designed to discourage workers from seeking work in the midst of a public health emergency. Unlike other state unemployment programs, workers are not required to actively seek employment while accepting payments. For now, therefore, workers do not have to play.

According to management members’ comments, managerial inventory is probably not an existential issue, at least in the long run. It’s also pretty simple to fix. “As a labor economist – who I am – the reaction to the market for employers struggling to recruit workers is to pay higher wages,” says Parrott of the New School. There is some anecdotal evidence that this is happening: Managers in some cities – including Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Sacramento, California – say they have received emails and notifications from gig companies offering one-time bonuses when they sign up and fill in a few. excursions. Lyft said last month that it would spend between $ 10 million and $ 20 million more on driver incentives this quarter, after reducing its recruiting costs by $ 15 million late last year.

But the question of when workers should be encouraged to get behind the wheel is difficult. The companies want many people to be logged in and ready to start again as soon as Americans are vaccinated and ready to resume their normal lives, including Uber rides.

“It takes time to bring more drivers to the system,” Lyft CEO Green said last month. “It’s a bit more like steering and turning the Titanic, while demand can move much faster.” Do not tell him how the one ends.

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