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.

Go deeper

Trump's 2 chilling debate warnings

Photo: Morry Gash/Pool via Getty Images

One of the few groups in America with anything to celebrate after last night's loud, ugly, rowdy presidential "debate" was the violent, far-right Proud Boys, after President Trump pointedly refused to condemn white supremacist groups.

Why it matters: This was a for-the-history-books moment in a debate that was mostly headache-inducing noise. Trump failed to condemn racist groups after four months when millions marched for racial justice in the country's largest wave of activism in half a century.

Ina Fried, author of Login
55 mins ago - Technology

Candidates go online to cut through debate noise

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

While President Trump and Joe Biden fought to be heard in a rowdy debate Tuesday, both campaigns sought to draw digital battle lines and occupy online turf they could have all to themselves.

The big picture: Trump's impulsive Twitter style made a shambles of the debate format, but online the candidates were able to find niches where they couldn't be interrupted — and could motivate their supporters to donate, organize and turn out to vote.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Shell plans up to 9,000 job cuts by 2022

A Shell station in Brazil. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Royal Dutch Shell will shed up to 9,000 jobs as it undergoes a long-term restructuring around climate-friendly energy sources and continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the oil industry.

Why it matters: The cuts could amount to over 10% of the company's global workforce, which was 83,000 at the end of 2019.

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