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$2 Trillion Shadow Economy Keeps U.S. Afloat

The growing underground economy may be helping to prevent the real economy from sinking further, according to analysts.

The shadow economy is a system composed of those who can't find a full-time or regular job. Workers turn to anything that pays them under the table, with no income reported and no taxes paid — especially with an uneven job picture.

"I think the underground economy is quite big in the U.S.," said Alexandre Padilla, associate professor of economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. "Whether it's using undocumented workers or those here legally, it's pretty large."

"You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe," said Laura Gonzalez, professor of personal finance at Fordham University. "But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it's not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States."

Source: CNBC. Read full article. (link)

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  • ||

    I have no doubt this is true. Just anecdotal but many of my low income criminal defense or family law clients pay in cash and don't have a job on the books.

    No, they're not ALL dealing drugs.

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's not a shadow economy, it's the unmonitored segment of the real economy. Just because the government doesn't have data on it doesn't mean anything.

  • Hagbard||

    Exactly, instead of black market, this would more accurately be referred to as the free market.