According to The Los Angeles Times, the Bureau of Labor Statistics added a new category to the weekly employment figures - incorporated self-employed workers. That figure is up 50% - from 9mm to 14mm.
It's not easy to assess the implications of this statistic. Some of the self-employed are working temporary gigs at large corporations. In fact, its probable some are doing their old jobs as outside contractors without benefits. Others are starting real businesses with varied customer lists.
If the statistic is the leading edge of a trend to "outsourcing" work to temporary or permatemp workers, it may also mark the end of the employer/employee "social contract", with corporations no longer providing a system of benefits and retirement savings. There is no current estimate of the cost of this change to the economy currently and in the future.