Independent contractors in 2005
July 29, 2005
In February of this year, there were 10.3 million people working as independent contractors, accounting for 7.4 percent of the employed.
The proportion of the total employed who were independent contractors increased from 6.4 percent in February 2001.
Independent contractors were more likely than workers in traditional arrangements to be age 35 and over (81 versus 64 percent), male (65 versus 52 percent), and white (89 versus 82 percent). Thirty-six percent of independent contractors had at least a bachelor's degree in February 2005, compared with 33 percent of workers with traditional arrangements.
Independent contractors were more likely than those with traditional arrangements to be in management, business, and financial operations occupations; sales and related occupations; and construction and extraction occupations. In terms of industry, independent contractors were more likely than traditional workers to be employed in construction, financial activities, and professional and business services.
Fewer than 1 in 10 independent contractors said they would prefer a traditional work arrangement.
"Independent contractors" are workers identified as independent contractors, independent consultants, or freelance workers, whether they were self-employed or wage and salary workers.
These data are from a supplement to the February 2005 Current Population Survey. Find out more in Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements, February 2005, news release USDL 05-1433.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Independent contractors in 2005 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/jul/wk4/art05.htm (visited December 06, 2016).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.
A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
Spending on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.
Self-employment in the United States
Trends in self-employment by various demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, including both the unincorporated and the incorporated self-employed, as well as data on paid employees who work for the self-employed.