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Underemployed People Aren't Reflected in the Government's 'Stable' Jobless Statistics

April 01, 1990

James Flanigan's "Way U.S. Counts Jobless May Be Outdated," March 14, column about the seemingly stable unemployment figures may have overlooked a factor that has grown out of a major trend during the past decade.

During the past 10 years, thousands of individuals became consultants, independent contractors or free-lancers--essentially, "one-person bands." If I can judge from myself and my free-lance acquaintances, who are primarily in advertising and related communications fields, this past year and a half has been characterized by serious under employment and significantly lower incomes.

None of us have signed up for unemployment benefits, so we don't show up in government statistics. A few have taken or are informally looking for staff jobs. Most have really stepped up efforts at new business presentations and are cutting back on expenditures to maintain the independence that free-lancing offers.

And as far as I know, the government has no way--except for lower tax payments--to track this changed employment pattern.

CAROL WILSON

Long Beach

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