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Updated: 07/23/2013 10:46 PM
Created: 07/23/2013 7:35 PM KSTP.com | Print |  Email
By: Stephen Tellier

Minn. Workers Seek More Temporary, Freelance Work

State economic officials have announced Minnesota has recovered 95 percent of the jobs lost during the recession. But while the numbers are about the same, but the job sectors have shifted.
 
We compared Minnesota's workforce last month to the state's workforce five years ago, in June 2008, and found some significant changes.
 
The biggest gainers have been workers in education and health care, jumping more than 10 percent, and professional and business services, which is up more than 6 percent.
 
The number of people employed in manufacturing has dropped nearly 10 percent, and the construction sector has seen a decline of 13 percent.
 
But many Minnesotans are now working temporary or part-time jobs, part of a growing trend of finding new and creative ways to earn a living.
 
In a way, Jeff Wenberg gets paid for simply being -- and talking like -- himself.
 
"They just want a normal sounding voice to present whatever it is they're presenting," Wenberg said.
 
His full-time job isn't traditional, but it's doing the job for him.
 
"Couldn't be better!" Wenberg exclaimed.
 
During the depths of the recession, Wenberg was fired from his job processing debit card payments. He started searching for freelance work on sites like Elance and oDesk, and he found it.
 
"It was 200 yoga videos, and I was like, 'Well, I know about yoga. Yeah, I'll give this a shot,'" Wenberg said.
     
That was his first freelance gig -- yoga video voice-overs. Just a few years later, he runs a thriving voice-over and video editing service from his own apartment.
 
He's coy about how much money he actually makes freelancing, but his profile on Elance lists a rate of $38 an hour.
 
"It's full time work and it's kind of doubled consistently the last three years," Wenberg said.
 
The online freelance industry is exploding at a similar rate.
 
One research group estimates the value of such work hit $1 billion last year. The top Minnesota earners on Elance have made as much as $38,000. Some of that income surely supplements other sources for the more than 68,000 temporary or part-time workers in Minnesota -- a number that's up 30 percent from five years ago.
 
So the ranks of Jeff Wenbergs are likely to grow.
 
"The harder I work, the better results that I'll see," Wenberg said.
 
Online freelance work ranges from IT to copy writing to sales and marketing work. One research group estimates the industry will continue to grow by about 40 percent this year and next.
 
Click here to read Minnesota employment stats.
 
Click here for Minnesota labor stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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