As of the date this article was published, 30 million people in the United States have filed for unemployment insurance for the first time. This means that millions of people are not only looking for new jobs, but they're also looking for a little side work to make ends meet.
It was surprising, then, when we observed a massive purge of user accounts at gig-economy marketplace Upwork ($NASDAQ:UPWK). As we reported a month ago, Upwork seemingly purged nearly 2-million accounts from its network as it looked to transform the gig marketplace into one with higher-paying jobs for fewer people.
But since then, the marketplace has recovered.
On April 13, the number of jobs on Upwork hit a low of 77,500. Since then, however, roughly 10,000 new gigs have been added, bringing the new total of available jobs on Upwork to 87,400.
Just before that, in early May, the number of user accounts at Upwork began to grow as well. On March 31, the site reported 643,000 user accounts, or workers. As of this week, that number has swelled to 938,000. That's still a far cry from the 2.6 million workers the site reported in February, but it appears that things are up again at Upwork.
To be clear, not just anyone can sign up for Upwork. The company asks that new accounts create a profile and that within 24 hours they'll either be accepted or not. It appears, then, that the company began approving profile requests in early March in earnest.
The type of gig work available on Upwork remains biased toward skilled workers in software development, design, and writing, with "Web Mobile Software Development" showing the most gigs at 271,000 as of this week.
The change is a positive sign for those looking to make some extra money during uncertain times, especially after we found that Upwork had been plagued by too little work for too many people.
This recent surge also comes as the company has made some goodwill efforts that include its Work Together Talent Grants Program, which gives $25,000 grants to freelancers who can "help develop and accelerate projects whose mission is tied directly to mitigating COVID-19's devastating impact on individuals, communities, and economies."
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.