The Labor Market Experiences of Workers in Alternative Work Arrangements

May 7, 2020
Employment & Wages, Healthy Economy


Nearly 16 million workers (10.1 percent of the workforce) were in nontraditional work arrangements in 2017, including independent contractors, workers at a contract firm, on-call workers, and workers at a temp agency. As a group, nontraditional workers are more likely to be found in certain industries (e.g., business and repair services) and occupations (e.g., construction), and they often have worse labor market outcomes: compared to traditional workers, nontraditional workers usually earn less, have lower rates of health insurance, and have less access to retirement security plans. Furthermore, they tend to experience larger and more-frequent changes in weekly hours. A range of policy options—from expanded labor protections to portable benefits—could improve these outcomes for nontraditional workers.