More of Us Might Become Independent Contractors This Year

Here’s the flip side of that “we might all get higher wages this year” story, from Politico:

Over the past two decades, the U.S. labor market has undergone a quiet transformation, as companies increasingly forgo full-time employees.

The longread begins with the story of a medical transcriptionist who was fired by her employer so she could be immediately rehired by a third-party contractor who paid her 6 cents per line of transcription; it expands to explain the growth of contingent work in the United States, why the government isn’t too concerned about worker misclassification, and the current trend of swapping out full-time jobs for “independent contractors, on-call workers or temps:”

From 2005 to 2015, according to the best available estimate, the number of people in alternative work arrangements grew by 9 million and now represents roughly 16 percent of all U.S. workers, while the number of traditional employees declined by 400,000. A perhaps more striking way to put it is that during those 10 years, all net job growth in the American economy has been in contingent jobs.

It’s worth the read.


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