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December 1989

On the definition of “contingent work”

Anne E. Polivka, Thomas J. Nardone

Lack of an established definition has hindered estimates of this segment of the labor force. Factors in defining contingency should include job security and work hours, and measurement may require a combined household-establishment survey. This article examines several issues surrounding contingent work, including its definition, reasons for its existence, and methods for measuring the number of contingent jobs.

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