Report Shows Increase in Number of Independent Contractors

August 2, 2005 ( - A report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that 7.4% of the employed (more than 10.3 million) are working as independent contractors, up from 6.4% in 2001.

The report, Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements, February 2005, showed that the number of independent contractors was far greater than the number of employees in other alternative work arrangements such as on-call workers (2.4 million), temporary agency workers (1.2 million), or those provided by contract firms (.8 million).

According to a BLS news release, the study also found that independent contractors were more likely than workers in traditional arrangements to be age 35 and over (81 v. 64%), male (65 v. 52%), and white (89 v. 82%). Also, 36% of independent contractors had at least a bachelor’s degree while 33% of workers in traditional arrangements reported the same level of education.

Almost 40% of independent contractors were employed in management, business and financial occupations compared to 35% of workers in a traditional arrangement. Almost 20% of independent contractors were employed in construction and extraction operations, versus 9.4% of traditional workers. Independent contractors were more likely than traditional workers to be employed in construction, financial activities, and professional and business services, according to the news release.

The report did not indicate a percentage of independent contractors with employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, but showed that only 2.6% were eligible for an employer-sponsored pension plan.

Less than 10% of independent contractors would prefer a traditional work arrangement.

The complete report can be viewed here .