government.jpgYou can’t fix what you can’t count, so Freelancers Union has been pushing the government to do a better job counting freelancers. Our new policy paper, which was highlighted by Businessweek, is a call to action for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to consistently and accurately count independent workers and include them in the job numbers. Here’s the deal: in 2005, the BLS measured the number of contingent workers (people who consider their jobs temporary), and determined they make up 4% of the workforce. But if that’s their approach to understanding how many people have jobs that aren’t traditional nine-to-fives, they’re missing a huge chunk of folks. The BLS isn’t including those who are self-employed, part-time, temps, contract workers – all the diverse job paths that make up the new “gig economy.” As our founder Sara Horowitz points out, “people should be categorized as independent based on their work, not whether they think of themselves as business owners.” That’s why we’re requesting that the BLS expand their definition of contingent worker so that it truly reflects all of today’s independent workers, which make up at least 30% of the overall workforce. We want to know what you think about this issue. Should the BLS expand its definition of contingent worker? How do you define yourself as a worker? (Photo by Kevin Harber via Flickr)