Bureau of Labor Statistics

Independent contractors made up 6.9 percent of employment in May 2017

June 21, 2018

Independent contractors remained the largest of four alternative arrangements, making up 6.9 percent of total employment in May 2017. The second-largest category was on-call workers, at 1.7 percent. Temporary help agency workers accounted for 0.9 percent of total employment, and workers provided by contract firms made up 0.6 percent of total employment.

View Chart Data

Workers in alternative arrangements as a percent of total employed
Type of worker Feb 1995 Feb 1997 Feb 1999 Feb 2001 Feb 2005 May 2017

Independent contractors

6.7% 6.7% 6.3% 6.4% 7.4% 6.9%

On-call workers

1.7 1.6 1.5 1.6 1.8 1.7

Temporary help agency workers

1.0 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9

Workers provided by contract firms

0.5 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.6

The proportion of the employed who were independent contractors was lower in May 2017, compared with February 2005 (the last time the survey was conducted). The proportions employed in the other three alternative arrangements showed little or no change from 2005. 

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements — May 2017." The measures of alternative employment arrangements apply only to a person's sole or main job. For more information, see the answers to frequently asked questions.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Independent contractors made up 6.9 percent of employment in May 2017 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/independent-contractors-made-up-6-point-9-percent-of-employment-in-may-2017.htm (visited October 18, 2021).


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