This past Friday (Jan. 11), workers impacted by the shutdown missed their first paycheck. Buzzfeed reported that some gig workers have started recruiting for their companies on social media, using the #GovernmentShutdown hashtag on Twitter to promote a driver sign-up page, along with their referral links.
On LinkedIn, a DoorDash “Dasher Acquisition Manager” messaged a federal employee, encouraging them to “earn what you want, when you want.” However, that LinkedIn account is no longer active and DoorDash declined to comment.
For its part, a spokesperson for Lyft said it would “encourage those in need of extra income to consider driving with Lyft,” which is “a reliable way to make ends meet, and can help these workers fill in the gap during this uncertain time.”
Government employees are allowed to take on outside work during the shutdown, as long as it doesn’t violate the government ethics rules that are usually required by their employment. In Washington, D.C., government employees have reportedly been applying to drive for Uber and Lyft to earn money during the shutdown. In addition, Postmates said it has seen a “significant spike” in applications since Dec. 20.
As the shutdown continues (and there is no indication it will come to an end anytime soon), there could be significant damage to the country's economy, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
“A longer shutdown is something we haven’t had,” he said. “If we had an extended shutdown, then I do think that would show up in the data pretty clearly.”
Powell went on to explain that the current situation would make it more difficult for the Fed to analyze the economy’s health, because certain agencies that monitor the economy were also affected by the shutdown.