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January 30, 2008

Contingent Workers and Contingent Health: Risks of a Modern Economy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, West Virginia.

JAMA. 2008;299(4):448-450. doi:10.1001/jama.299.4.448

Employment arrangements in which the worker has a nontraditional relationship with the work-site employer have come to be grouped together in recent years as “contingent” work. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as employers sought more flexibility, contingent employment arrangements became more common in the United States. From 1969 to 1993, the number of part-time workers nearly doubled, representing a quarter of all growth in the national workforce.1 From 1982 to 1990, employment in temporary agencies increased 10 times faster than did the workforce as a whole.2 During the 1980s, the use of independent contractors in coal mining and of contract company workers in agriculture doubled.3

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