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Dec 23 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, invites comments by February 21, 2023 regarding the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) to be conducted in July 2023.

The purpose of this request for review is for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to obtain clearance for a reinstatement with change for the Contingent Worker Supplement (CWS) to the Current Population Survey (CPS), which was last conducted in May 2017. The proposed CWS questions focus on contingent workers—those who do not expect their jobs to last or who report that their jobs are temporary—and workers in alternative employment arrangements, such as independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms.

Because this supplement is part of the CPS, the same detailed demographic information collected in the CPS will be available on respondents to the supplement. Comparisons will be possible across characteristics such as sex, race and ethnicity, age, and educational attainment of the respondent.

The CWS will provide information on the number and characteristics of workers in contingent jobs and alternative employment arrangements. Although the CWS was fielded 5 times from 1995 to 2005 and then in May 2017, there have been no comparable and reliable statistics in recent years to show how the number and characteristics of these workers are changing over time. The July 2023 CWS will allow researchers and policy makers to evaluate how the number and characteristics of these workers has evolved. Policy makers also can use these data to inform the design of regulations for different types of workers.

BLS is proposing to add new questions and remove outdated questions to the CWS. New questions on task-based and app-based work are designed to provide insight into additional work arrangements like digital labor platform work. (This new content replaces the 2017 items on electronically-mediated employment.) The 2023 supplement will also ask about work arrangements on second jobs for multiple jobholders. Our data users noted the absence of information about second jobs as a particular shortcoming of prior supplements.

These updated questions will provide researchers and policy makers with much-needed data about an emerging group of workers, while balancing the desire to maintain historical comparability.      

The U.S. Department of Labor will use these data to determine whether existing policies and regulations sufficiently protect workers in contingent and alternative work arrangements, including the evolution of workers using digital labor platforms. The detailed demographic and other information from the CWS will be valuable in planning Federal programs and formulating policy.      

2018 CWS release https://www.bls.gov/news.release/conemp.toc.htm
CWS Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/data/datasets/time-series/demo/cps/cps-supp_cps-repwgt/cps-contingent.html
2023 CWS draft data collection instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/0izinx8r4ifi6318v8hve/h?dl=0&rlkey=c279ney9mv8axazjzzxckf34j
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-27949

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