What happened

Shares of Upwork (NASDAQ:UPWK) were climbing today as investors looked to the online talent marketplace company to help them weather increasingly negative news about rising coronavirus infections and ongoing U.S. unemployment concerns. Upwork shares rose by as much as 10.3% during the day.

As of 3:40 p.m. EDT, the company's stock was up 9.7%.

So what 

Upwork's online platform allows companies to post freelance positions and workers to find jobs. Most of the jobs are temporary gig positions, and investors have been drawn to the company as many Americans may be looking for temporary work right now. 

The U.S Labor Department reported today that 1.48 million additional Americans applied for unemployment over the past week. That number is down slightly from the previous week, but it still marks historically high unemployment applications that far outpace previous highs set in 1982. Investors are optimistic that Upwork's platform could benefit as more workers may turn to the company's website to find freelance work in the coming months.

A bar chart and line graph on a green background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Over the past three months, Upwork's stock has skyrocketed 125%, though its share price is still down 8% over the past 12 months.

Now what 

The U.S. is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases right now and is dealing with a recession that could last months, or longer. Because of this, investors will likely focus their attention on companies that they believe will be able to grow during this difficult economic time. With Upwork's sales increasing 21% in the first quarter of this year, investors are looking to Upwork as a potentially safe place in which to invest during the pandemic.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.