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Share of Workers in 'Nonstandard' Jobs Declines

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The booming U.S. economy and the strong labor market of the late 1990s through early 2001 benefited nearly all workers. Unemployment rates declined to 30-year lows, real wages grew even for those on the bottom of the economic ladder, and the percentage of Americans lacking health insurance declined. Yet nonstandard employment -- part-time work, temping, contract work, self employment, on-call work, day labor -- remained commonplace in this booming economy.

In 2001 more than one-quarter of the workforce was employed in nonstandard arrangements. While strong economic growth reduced this share -- from 29.4% in 1995, to 27.4% in 1999, and to 26.6% in 2001 -- the large differences between nonstandard and regular full-time jobs in terms of pay, benefits, and job security continue to pose serious problems for workers in nonstandard jobs.