Jan 8, 2019

The economists who predicted a surge in gig jobs say they were wrong

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

In 2016, two prominent U.S. economists turned heads with a paper stating that the country was going gig — Americans were throwing aside the traditional desire for full-time jobs and opting for the freedom and flexibility of freelance work.

Where it stands: Now the pair — Princeton University's Alan Krueger and Harvard's Lawrence Katz — say they were fooled by economic noise and that workers are pretty much the same as they've always been.

  • Their old paper was exceedingly influential, trickling down to how economists, human resources professionals, marketers and more viewed the workforce.
  • But in their new paper, published this week, Krueger and Katz say people were doing odd jobs back then because they needed the work, not as a signal of a new trend. Now that the labor market is tight, they are back at work.

Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, tells Axios that the pair's new paper is par for the course. "If you're not getting it wrong 20% of the time, you are not doing your job," he says.

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History's largest lockdown leaves Indian workers stranded, afraid

A migrant worker on the move with his child, in Gurugram, India. Photo: Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty

Few moments better capture the world into which we've slipped than the decision of one man to order 1.4 billion into lockdown.

Why it matters: India’s three-week lockdown is the largest ever attempted, and it sparked South Asia's greatest migration since partition in 1947. While the economic effects could be devastating, the public health crisis it's intended to fend off could be more destructive still.

Go deeperArrow13 mins ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 782,319 — Total deaths: 37,582 — Total recoveries: 164,565.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 161,807 — Total deaths: 2,953 — Total recoveries: 5,595.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

First U.S. service member dies from coronavirus

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

The Pentagon on Monday announced the death of a member of the New Jersey National Guard who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. service member — active, reserve or Guard — to die from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The guardsman passed away on Saturday after being hospitalized for the novel coronavirus on March 21.

Go deeperArrow56 mins ago - Health