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.

Independent contractors as a share of all workers, February 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2005
[Chart data—TXT]

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.

SUGGESTED CITATION

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 June 29, 2016).

OF INTEREST

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.