The current economic downturn has hit everybody hard, especially as we grapple with reopening the economy and fighting COVID-19. To better understand how this downturn has impacted blue-collar gig workers, we conducted a survey with about 3,000 such workers on employment and what is impacting their work. We found that there are significant issues facing workers right now, like lack of childcare and issues with obtaining unemployment benefits. Below are some highlights from the report.
Issue 1: Lack of childcare is a major obstacle to finding good job opportunities
Local officials, federal policymakers, and economic leaders have faced persistent questions in recent weeks about reopening the economy. While there’s widespread disagreement about what constitutes a fully reopened economy, childcare and school are at the center of the debate.
A growing number of gig workers (23%), disproportionately women, see a lack of childcare as the biggest obstacle to returning to work right now. If workers can’t find adequate childcare, then they simply won’t be able to return to work as businesses reopen.
Issue 2: Trouble getting government relief
The government recently passed the largest stimulus package in U.S. history and, for the first time, extended unemployment benefits to gig workers. Unfortunately, workers haven’t had an easy time actually getting those benefits.
About 1 in 4 workers (26%) we surveyed applied for benefits, but only half of those applicants have actually received benefits. Workers ages 18-24 have had the greatest success getting benefits, and there has been wide variability by region.
While gig workers are struggling to navigate COVID-19, we found that they are still eager to gain skills and improve their situation. Additionally, they continue to turn to gig work for economic opportunity, and their preference or need for flexible schedules has actually increased. As recovery continues, companies should pay attention to these preferences and continue to offer support to all of their workers.