Monthly job growth has averaged 211,286 so far this year, a level suggesting that employers are confident the economy will continue to expand and require more workers in the coming months and years. The government also said employers added a total of 14,000 more jobs in May and June than previously estimated.

Another solid jobs report suggests the economy is gaining strength and keeps the Fed on track to raise rates as early as the next meeting, in September, Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a research note.

Luíz Inácio "Lula" da Silva won the presidency of Brazil on his fourth attempt, in an overwhelming victory in October 2002. His Workers' Party (PT) ushered in a new era for the country's previously disenfranchised majority, with the economy from 2004 to 2010 more than doubling its rate of growth of the previous 23 years. Poverty declined by 55 percent and extreme poverty by 65 percent from 2003 to 2012. Unemployment hit record lows, the real (inflation adjusted) minimum wage doubled, and the gains from growth were more equally distributed than in previous decades.

A large majority of Brazilians are still vastly better off today than they were before the PT came to power. But the economy slowed sharply from 2011 to 2014, with GDP growth returning to the rates of the pre-PT era. Job creation in the formal sector -- regular employment covered by taxes and legal benefits, as opposed to the underground economy -- fell from an average of 1.46 million jobs annually for 2004 through 2010 to just 829,000 for 2011 to 2014 and just 152,000 in 2014. Economic growth was about zero last year and will turn negative this year.

Approval ratings for Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, have plummeted, and most of the news about Brazil is woefully pessimistic -- corruption scandals, including one involving the state-run oil company, Petrobras; Standard and Poor's lowering its outlook for the country's bond rating after downgrading it to one notch above junk; the real falling about 35 percent against the US dollar over the past year.

What went wrong? Many analysts have blamed external conditions. The growth of the world economy and trade plummeted after 2010, and the price of Brazil's commodity exports also fell. However, as Brazilian economists Franklin Serrano and Ricardo Summa explain in a new paper on the slowdown, this is only a relatively small part of the story. Brazil's exports are not that big a part of its economy and didn't change that much -- from 11.9 percent (2004 to 2010) to 11.3 percent (2011 to 2014).

The problem is that on top of the worsening external conditions, the government piled a series of policy decisions that weakened the economy. Beginning in February 2010, the Central Bank began to raise short-term interest rates, from 8.5 to 12.5 percent the following August, just as the economy was slowing. (This rate, called the Selic rate in Brazil, is analogous to the US Federal Reserve's benchmark federal funds rate, which has remained at 0 to 0.25 percent since December 2008). The government tightened consumer credit, which had expanded considerably in the previous years. Some of these measures were reversed the next year, with interest rates coming back down, to 7.5 percent in October 2012, but the changes were too little and too late.

Then the government began another cycle of raising interest rates in April 2013, which has continued through last week, with the Selic rate at 14.25 percent -- one of the highest in the world -- in spite of the forecast recession for this year. Beginning in 2011, the government tightened its fiscal policy -- for example, by cutting public investment by 18 percent in real terms.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- All eyes are tethered to the US non-farm payrolls report, which was released at 8:30 a.m ET. Consensus of 220,000 jobs added in July was slightly above actual, which came in at 215,000. This points to a still-improving economy and helps tip the scale towards a Fed rate hike in September. The unemployment rate came in at 5.3%, which was inline with consensus.

With sites like Elance, Freelancer, and Guru, its easy to see that many people have already turned to freelancing either to supplement their income or as a full time occupation. Even for those in the US who havent yet participated in freelancing, a few statistics suggest that this will become a very important part of the economy in the coming decade. Here is a quick overview of what freelancing is and why its so important:

What is Freelancing?

A freelancer, or independent contractor, is someone who isnt committed to a single employer, but rather works independently for several different clients.

Freelancing is increasingly becoming a very large part of the US economy. According to, there are roughly 53 million freelancers in the US contributing $715 billion in earnings to the national economy.

Who Benefits from Freelancing?

The people who will benefit the most form freelancing will be writers, designers, and programmers. On average, writers earn $58-$82 per blog post written, designers earn $52-$90 per hour, and programmers earn $63-$180 per hour. If you are among the best of the best, your earnings can go much higher.

Why Freelance?

So why would anyone actually want to freelance? Well it carries a number of advantages over traditional work. The one that will resonate with most anyone who has held down a job is that you get to be your own boss. This means the right to accept and deny whichever jobs you want, and to determine your own work schedule. Theres also great potential to make more money than the average employee; some reports have found that freelancers earn an average of 45% more than traditional workers. You also get a greater sense of work-life balance, as only about 29% of freelancers work more than 40 hours a week. Finally, studies have found that freelancers are typically happier and healthier than their employee counterparts.

Challenges of Freelancing

Freelancing does come with its own challenges, many of which ironically stem from the nature of being your own boss. Youre responsible for signing clients, accounting, and you face the challenge of inconsistent work. Freelancing is certainly not for everyone, as you must have an entrepreneurial spirit to be successful. However, for many who are looking for a new model of work, this just may be the opportunity theyre looking for.

The rise of the gig economy, coupled with the fact that todays business environment is very friendly towards entrepreneurs and non-traditional work, makes it seem that freelancing will play an increasingly important role in the US economy going forward. If youre looking to leave the corporate world or are having a tough time finding a steady job, freelancing could be a viable option. This is particularly true of talented writers, programmers, and designers. One need only glance at a freelance website and see the quantity of jobs being ferried out to freelancers to see that there is demand for this type of work.

The Chinese economy is shrinking, and its happening faster than anyone expected, not even the countrys government.

As such, economists and investors around the world are working every day to paint a clear picture of whats going on with the second largest economy in the world. The data visualization below, from a recent Credit Suisse note, should help with that.

Right now President Xi Jinping is guiding China through a delicate transition from a country with an economy based on investment, to one based on domestic purchasing power and consumption.

The thing is, until investment and the cash it brought with it is drying up faster than the Chinese consumer powers up.

As a result, manufacturing, property development, and other key drivers of the economy are all slowing down. Indicators are flashing red.

Check out this diagram from Credit Suisse. As you can see in red, every major economic indicator is down from its 4-year average.

Credit Suisse