There were 51.5 million contingent workers in the US in 2020, according to a new report released this week by Staffing Industry Analysts. They represented 35% of the nation’s workforce and generated $1.3 trillion in revenue. There were 54.0 million in 2019, according to the previous year's report.

Contingent workers include those assigned by staffing firms, statement-of-work consultants, and others.

“Driven primarily by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns, we estimate the number of contingent workers declined slightly (from 54 million to 52 million) in 2020, consistent with the decline in the overall workforce,” according to the report. “Temporary workers assigned by staffing firms and temporary employees sourced directly were the two groups experiencing the largest declines.”

The number of temporary workers assigned by staffing firms is estimated at 8.5 million, according to the report. That’s higher than the 2 million to 3 million reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly jobs reports for 2020; however, SIA’s number reflects the number of workers throughout the year while the BLS number is a snapshot of one payroll period.

Temporary workers hired via talent and work service platforms (Uber Technologies, for example) numbered 9.6 million. Temporary employees sourced directly without the involvement of a staffing firm numbered 8.2 million. The number of SOW consultants employed by consulting firms was 1.4 million.

The largest share of contingent workers were self-employed workers with no employees. They numbered 26.5 million.

Corporate members of SIA can access the full report online.