Contingent Work

Starting in the 1980s, the labor market in the United States has changed dramatically, driven by factors such as the growing global competition and automation. Particularly, the departure from the post–Great Depression standard job model, that is, long-term (or lifetime) full-time employment for the averagely skilled, intensified. Virtually nonexisting in 1994 in the official statistics, the percentage of off-roll workers (i.e., nonemployees such as independent contractors or agency temps) began to increase dramatically during the economic expansion of the late 1990s. Scholarly interest in the nature and extent of contingent employment (sometimes called “nonstandard employment” in the literature) grew rapidly in the late 1990s following the first survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in February 1994 as to the extent of ...

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