Recession could cause more workers to 'quiet quit,' start a business, freelance - Business Insider

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A 2021 Upwork study found that 59 million Americans — or 36% of the US workforce — had performed freelance work over the prior 12 months.
If a recession forces more Americans to pursue freelance work, some might find themselves right at home.
In addition to the lack of predictable income and benefits, some freelance work — like food delivery or Uber driving — can be grueling.
Some are searching for better balance with remote work and 'quiet quitting' Perhaps the most obvious way Americans' working lives have strayed from the traditional 9-to-5 is the adoption of remote work.
Another option is "quiet quitting.

Recession could cause more workers to 'quiet quit,' start a business, freelance - Business Insider

Millions of Americans are starting businesses, freelancing, or working less. Despite the challenges, many are motivated to seek autonomy and flexibility. If a recession causes more people to join them, some could find themselves better off. Sign up for our newsletter to receive our top stories based on your reading preferences — delivered daily to your inbox. Loading Something is loading. Email address By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Insider as well as other partner offers and accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Americans have embraced the return to normal — traveling, eating out, and seeing movies. But when it comes to work, many have tried something different: saying goodbye to a conventional 9-to-5. The alternatives? Starting a business, turning to freelance and gig work, or setting stricter work-life boundaries. For some, the switch was necessary following a layoff, while others simply weren't happy at their jobs. If the labor market weakens, even those who are perfectly fine with the 9-to-5 lifestyle could find themselves pursuing non-traditional work to make ends meet. They will face challenges, but for some, it could be a blessing in disguise. Workers turn to self-employment during tough times Adison Landon, 31, just wasn't happy working for her employer as an aquarium service technician. It wasn't the industry — when she quit, she started a business doing the exact same work, but on her own terms. "Why should I continue to be unhappy?" Landon previously told Insider. "I am headstrong. I'm capable. I might as well try to make this work for myself." If the economy takes a downturn, more workers could join her. During recessions, Americans have historically turned to self-employment. US workers filed over 5 million new business applications in 2021, the most since 2005. Per Bloomberg calculations, there were roughly 16.8 million self-employed Americans as of June, accounting for over 10% of the workforce and the highest share since 2008. That's partly because recessions tend to bring layoffs and people need to find a way to feed their families. Others desire the autonomy of being their own boss or wager it's their best shot at getting ahead financially. Regardless of how they got there, many of these entrepreneurs have never been happier. But starting a business isn't without its risks. As many as 90% of startups ultimately fail, and the absence of consistent income and benefits can create real challenges, even for entrepreneurs who are ultimately successful. This is among the reasons self-employment ticks up during recessions — many people don't pursue it unless they have to. "We certainly saw some preference-based self-employment over the pandemic," says Aaron Terrazas, Chief Economist for Glassdoor. "But as economic conditions get a little bit more difficult, you can certainly imagine it shifting more toward survival strategy." A recession will bring even more demand for freelancers and contractors After quitting her corporate job in 2015, Alexandra Fasulo "was willing to make anything work" as a freelancer, she told Insider. She tried consulting online, managing social media accounts, and a variety of writing gigs. Eventually, she found assignments that best fit her skillset and were the most profitable — she earned over six-figures in 2018. While entrepreneurs must execute a new idea and business plan, freelancers like Fasulo can quickly pivot to explore what opportunities are most in demand — and figure out what works best for them. A 2021 Upwork study found that 59 million Americans — or 36% of the US workforce — had performed freelance work over the prior 12 months. In another Upwork study, 44% of freelancers said they "earn more freelancing than with a traditional job," an uptick from 39% in 2020 and 32% in 2019. If a recession forces more Americans to pursue freelance work, some might find themselves right at home. But not all freelance workers are thriving. The majority are earning less than they would with a traditional job, and per an Economic Policy Institute analysis of a 2020 Shift Project survey, 14% of gig workers surveyed earned less than the federal minimum wage on an hourly basis. In addition to the lack of predictable income and benefits, some freelance work — like food delivery or Uber driving — can be grueling. And as more freelancers join the fold, this could mean more people competing for a limited number of opportunities. Some are searching for better balance with remote work and 'quiet quitting' Perhaps the most obvious way Americans' working lives have strayed from the traditional 9-to-5 is the adoption of remote work. Per a June WFH Research survey, 15% of full-time employees are fully remote, 30% are hybrid, and the remaining 55% are on-site full-time. Other Americans have been open to working a 9-to-5, but would prefer to do so only four days per week. Some companies and lawmakers are open to this. Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, has proposed legislation that would bring the standard work week down to 32 hours. Another option is "quiet quitting." The newly popular term, which gained traction after Insider published a story on "coasting culture" back in March, describes the idea of establishing work-life boundaries while still collecting a paycheck. Its growing popularity on social media shows how younger workers are pushing back on the expectation that they should go above and beyond. "You don't even have to just give up, but scale back on your commitment, or your presence, or your hustle," said Maggie Perkins, a former teacher in Georgia and Florida, who engaged in quiet quitting beginning in 2018. "And you're still getting the job done. You're not shorting your company on their productivity. You're doing what you're expected to do."
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