Labor Department Will Start Counting Contingent Workers Again Next Year

One of the main barriers to understanding the “gig economy” and how to engage with it is that nobody can seem to agree on its size. Recent surveys have produced widely divergent counts of America’s freelancers, contractors, giggers, or contingent workers, estimating the “gig workforce” at anywhere from 600,000 to 54 million people. Now, the Department of Labor has decided to do something about filling in this crucial information gap. In a blog post on Monday, Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced that the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau would re-introduce the Contingent Worker Supplement in the May 2017 Current Population Survey, which “will give us reliable, credible insight into what’s going on across a range of work arrangements – from independent contractors to temporary employees to workers holding multiple jobs at the same time.”

The Hill notes that the supplement was discontinued after 2005 due to budget constraints.