"The Congress has mandated the Federal Reserve to implement monetary policy so as to promote maximum employment and stable prices. Our dual mandate recognizes the importance of work in enabling people to contribute to the financial security of their family and the prosperity of their community and the country overall. Moreover, there is a long-standing recognition that secure and dignified work provides a key sense of purpose and worth. Understanding the changing nature of employment in today's economy is not only central to the mission of the Federal Reserve, but also goes to the core of who we are as providers for our families and productive members of society."
- Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard, an excerpt from The "Gig" Economy: Implications of the Growth of Contingent Work. Delivered November 17, 2016 at the Evolution of Work convening, New York, New York

The growing prevalence of alternative work arrangements has accelerated with the rapidly evolving digital platform transformations in local and global markets. In order to better understand the changes in enterprising and informal work, new approaches are required to measure changes, trends, and growth in offline and online enabled work activities. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Federal Reserve Board conducted a nationally representative survey of adults 18 and older to track online and offline income-generating activities as well as their employment status during the six months prior to the survey. As part of this work, we explore the rationale behind respondents' participation in alternative work arrangements by crafting questions that capture participant motives and attitudes toward informal offline and online paid work activities. Survey results indicate that 36 percent of respondents undertook informal paid work activities either as a complement to or as a substitute for more traditional and formal work arrangements. Additionally, sixty-five percent of qualified survey respondents indicate that a main reason for participating in informal work is to earn extra income.

Research, Reports, and Postings

FEDS 2016-089: Exploring Online and Offline Informal Work: Findings from the Enterprising and Informal Work Activities (EIWA) Survey

Exploring Online and Offline Informal Work: Findings from the Enterprising and Informal Work Activities (EIWA) Survey

Survey of Enterprising and Informal Work Activities presentation (PDF)

 

Infographic

EIWA infographic thumbnail

What Are Enterprising and Informal Work Activities?
View infographic (PDF)

 

Convenings

Evolution of Work
Hosted by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Freelancers Union on November 17, 2016 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

 

Speeches

The "Gig" Economy: Implications of the Growth of Contingent Work
Delivered by Governor Brainard on November 17, 2016 at "Evolution of Work," a convening cosponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Freelancers Union, New York, New York

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Last Update: November 30, 2017