What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Freelancers Struggle As Unemployment Worsens in U.S.

Read the Full Transcript

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Now a second take on jobs, this one from our economics correspondent, Paul Solman, about the tough competition for work in the ever-growing freelance market.

    It's part of his ongoing reporting on Making Sen$e of financial news.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    At a job fair in New York this summer where there were few real jobs to be had, two experts explained the great employment squeeze

    Sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh.

  • SUDHIR VENKATESH, Columbia University:

    A company can't afford to give someone a job for 10 years and say that you can be part of our company for the rest of your life, because they don't know where they are going to be in six months or a year.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    So, rather than commit to full-timers, said Professor Peter Cappelli, companies are switching to just-in-time employees.

  • PETER CAPPELLI, The Wharton School:

    It's really applying some of the principles of manufacturing and supply chains to the question of how you get the right number of workers.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Inventory management.

  • PETER CAPPELLI:

    Some of this is it. Yes, it is inventory management.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    But the inventory are humans.

  • PETER CAPPELLI:

    Yes. And the inventory are people.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    A growing inventory that Sara Horowitz has been organizing into the Freelancers Union in Brooklyn, N.Y., because in the global economy the safety net of old is no more for more and more Americans.

    SARA HOROWITZ, founder, Freelancers Union: Some people used to think, you know, freelancer, it's a euphemism for people unemployed. But, actually, it is really all of us. It's people that work in technology, in finance, in real estate, in — domestic workers, graphic designers, artists. It's across the whole economic spectrum. And it is in fact a third of the work force is now working like this.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    You can't be serious. A third of the work force?

  • SARA HOROWITZ:

    Yes, according to the General Accounting Office, a third of the work force. And, really, what happens matters is, what is happening to the human beings who are doing these jobs, and how do we make it that they have a real and profound safety net?