Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers Involvement in Nonstandard Employment. Sample Size

In the CPS, respondents are included in the survey for four consecutive months, left off for the following eight months, then included again in the survey for four months. This pattern permits us to match observations across different months of the survey and gather information on work arrangements and income at several points in time. Approximately three-fourths of the cases interviewed in the February supplement are also interviewed in March. The actual sample sizes for temporary workers, on-call workers, and regular workers, as well as the subset of public assistance recipients and workers with income below 150 percent of the poverty line are presented in Table 3.1 (see Chapter 3).

The matched data from the February and March surveys from 1995, 1997, and 1999 provide information on current work arrangements and benefits provided by the job held in February as well as receipt of public assistance and income from the previous (even-numbered) year. Almost three-fourths of the observations in each February supplement can be matched to March of the same year. In addition to matching within year, we also considered matching those cases interviewed in February with March of the following year. This would have allowed us to examine impacts of alternative work arrangements on subsequent outcomes. About three-eighths (37.5 percent) of those cases interviewed in the February supplement are also interviewed in February or March of the following year.(63) Matching observations to data from February and/or March of the following year reduces the number of observations by at least half, but allows examination of several outcome measures. Specifically, the supplements for February of 1996, 1998, and 2000 (a year earlier) provide data on whether persons employed in various work arrangements are still employed, and whether they are still employed at the same job. The basic survey for March 1996, 1998, and 2000 provides information on current employment, hours worked, and wages earned from the primary job. However, matching across years resulted in sample sizes that were not large enough to make strong statements about the effects of alternative work arrangements in the at risk population.