The number of independent workers is being undercounted by governments in the U.S. and Europe—and that is contributing to glaring gaps in labor market policy, according to a large study released this morning by the McKinsey Global Institute.
The study found that 20-30% of the labor force in both the U.S. and the EU-15 is now made up of independent workers who are self-employed or do temporary work. The EU-15 is made up of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
McKinsey surveyed more than 8,000 respondents for the study. The respondents were based in six countries: The U.S., France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.
Government estimates of the number of independent workers are too low, according to the research, because they “significantly undercount those who engage in independent work to supplement their income.”
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