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We've Located the Gig Economy!

Working for Change. For five years New Jobs has lobbied for removing the biggest legal barrier to self-employment in Massachusetts, found in Chapter 149, section 148B. The law says, anyone must be an employee to work in a service occupation, aa concept that is nuts in the service economy of 2018. This state law needs to be changed.

We support changing the law:

-- We’ve shown that more than a million Massachusetts friends and neighbors work full time or part time as freelancers.

-- We showed that the gig economy will soon include 40 percent of the Massachusetts work force.

-- We profiled the self-employed and found them to be, for example:

... suddenly single mothers living far from employers,

... middle-aged professionals hoping to form their own firms,

... moms with school-aged children wanted to taper back to work, and

... recent technical undergraduates with advanced skills but no interested employers in Massachusetts.

-- And we showed why self-employment is growing—freelancers have more-flexible schedules and the opportunity to earn more income.

But the question remained: where are the commonwealth’s freelancers?

The Court Weighs In. In early June, 2018, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) criticized the IC law as a “complex statutory scheme” and asked the legislature to fix it. This was BIG news. We posted the article to 16,000 Mass freelancers on Facebook. More than 400 viewers—maybe your friends and neighbors—clicked through to the SJC article.

First Clues About Geography and the Gig Economy. The map below shows where those 415 people are from. The colors tell an interesting story.

First, the gig economy covers the whole state. See how widely the interest is spread: Berkshires to Cape Ann, Cape Cod to Springfield with, of course, many in Boston.

Second, interest in the gig economy is strongest where employers are scarcest. Those from smaller towns (average population 15,583, the size of Westport) were more than twice as likely to click through to the article as were people from larger towns (average population 41,625, the size of Everett). This higher interest from smaller towns exposes the gulf between the boom and bust regions of the commonwealth. Rural and low-density towns in all parts of Massachusetts—Berkshire, Franklin and Worcester Counties, both Capes and the islands, the South Shore—have more willing workers than employers to hire them.

Interestingly, Boston falls right in the middle. Even Boston has interested freelancers.

The Gig Economy Provides Opportunity for All. This uneven interest points to the future: for many Massachusetts workers with skills, experience and initiative, the gig economy can be the right work solution when the right employer is just not available. Yet state law impedes voluntary freelancing. State law must permit individual choice of work style.

For state law to be fair, individuals in every city and town of this amazing commonwealth must have the same opportunity to earn a good living in a way that fits their lifestyles and needs. It is urgent that the legislature relax the nation’s most severe employment law to permit voluntary self-employment doing flexible contract work. Individual choice of work is the heart of the gig economy.

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New Jobs for Massachusetts advocates for rapid job growth. The past 18 months have shown that government action to reduce regulation and ease the tax burden quickly creates rapid growth in jobs and the economy. Yet only federal law has changed. Support New Jobs' work to ease state restrictions on the gig economy. We depend on small contributors who support our work. Please make a small contribution of $5, $10, or $20. Click here to reach our secure and simple online contribution page:

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