Contingent Worker Supplement Sample Notes

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The Contingent Worker Supplement contains information about duration of employment, employment types, and job stability with the goal of identifying those doing contingent work or in alternative employment arrangements.

Contingent workers are broadly defined as those who do not expect their employment to continue, specifically, “those who do not have an explicit or implicit contract for continuing employment.” A number of criteria were used to determine if a respondent was considered a contingent worker. First, respondents were identified as being temporarily employed (CWTEMP) and/or being unable to keep a job as long as desired (CWCONTOLD and CWCONTCUR). Further questions about the manner in which employment was expected to end were used to create three categories of contingent work. CWDEFNARR is the narrowest and consists of wage and salary workers who expect to work in their current job for 1 year or less. CWDEFMED expands the scope to include self-employed persons and independent contractors. CWDEFBRD is the most inclusive category and includes anyone who does not expect their job to last as long as they would like. Users should note that these categories are not mutually exclusive.

The Contingent Worker Supplement also includes variables on alternative employment arrangements. Types of alternative employment include:

Contingent work and alternative employment arrangements are not mutually exclusive and it is possible for respondents to be considered both a contingent worker and in an alternative employment arrangement, one or the other, or neither.

The Contingent Worker Supplement has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1995. Concepts and definitions remain constant, however, there are changes in supplement eligibility. In samples from 1995-1999, employed civilians over the age of 15 were eligible for the supplement. In 2001 and 2005, only employed civilians over the age of 16 who were in in month-in-sample 1-3 or 5-7 are considered eligible. In 2017 the month-in-sample restrictions are no longer present and the survey was conducted in May, rather than February as was done in previous years. Users should note that the supplement universes for samples from 2001 and later were determined empirically and that the official census bureau documentation does not always explictly note these changes.

Users should also note that the universe statements that appear in Contingent Worker Supplement codebooks are often not reflected in the data. In some cases, true universes could not be completely determined by IPUMS CPS staff. These instances have been noted in variable descriptions, and universes have been defined to reflect the data as closely as possible.

CWSUPPWT is the weight variable for Contingent Worker Supplement data.