April 25, 2001
The proportion of the workforce consisting of independent contractors, on-call workers, temps, and contract company workers is small, and the shares of these workers are not growing.
In 1999, workers in all four nontraditional arrangements accounted for 9.3 percent of total employment, compared with 9.9 percent in 1997 and 9.8 percent in 1995. Although independent contractors remained the largest group numerically, their share of total employment declined slightly between 1997 and 1999. The proportions of total employment in the other three arrangements changed little over the 1995-99 period.
"Independent contractors" are workers identified as independent contractors, independent consultants, or freelance workers, whether they were self-employed or wage and salary workers. "On-call workers" are called to work as needed, though they can be scheduled to work for several days or weeks in a row. "Temporary help agency workers" are paid by a temporary help agency, whether or not their job is actually temporary. "Contract company workers" are employed by a company that provides their services to others under contract; they are usually assigned to only one customer and work at the customer’s worksite.
These data are a product of a February supplement to the monthly Current Population Survey. Find out more about workers in nontraditional arrangements in "Characteristics of and preference for alternative work arrangements,1999," by Marisa DiNatale, Monthly Labor Review, March 2001.