Temporary Employment to Grow Faster Than All Jobs In Next Five Years

November 26, 2019
Inside HR
Recruiting & Hiring
Read time: 3 mins

Forty-two percent of people picking up temporary work take on at least two gigs per week and new research shows they will have even more opportunities to choose from. Temporary help services is the largest category of gig employment and serves as a bellwether for broader growth trends. A study by TrueBlue and Emsi projects that temporary help services employment will grow to more than 3.2 million jobs by 2025, an increase of nearly 254,000 jobs (8.5 percent) from 2019. This compares to 6 percent growth for all U.S. jobs from 2019 to 2025.

The study is based on Emsi’s data, which is aggregated from state and federal employment sources. The analysis focuses on temporary help services workers who are employed by companies as well as self-employed.

Key findings include:

  • Temporary employment has been growing steadily for the last several years as the U.S. recovered from the last recession. Nearly 480,000 jobs were added from 2012 to 2019 with companies seeking more flexibility in how they staff and workers seeking greater control over when and where they work.
  • While temporary employment is relatively balanced among age groups, the majority (57 percent) of people working temporary assignments, or gigs, are ages 35 and older; 18 percent are ages 55 and older. The number one reason why people say they want to take on gig work is to earn extra income followed by the desire to get their foot in the door with a company.
  • Los Angeles, CA (adding 13,466 jobs), Dallas, TX (+13,435 jobs), Chicago, IL (+12,944 jobs), Grand Rapids, MI (+8,997 jobs), and New York, NY (+8,718 jobs) are the top five metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) projected to add the largest number of temporary jobs from 2019 to 2025.
  • Supply chain-related jobs continue to dominate the list of fastest-growing temporary occupations from production to transportation and customer service.

“How companies and people look at work is different today, likely inspired by the memories of a casualty-ridden recession and the emergence of new technologies that make it easy to connect in real time for on-demand employment needs,” said Patrick Beharelle, CEO of TrueBlue. “Gig employment will continue to grow in popularity as more companies choose to reduce fixed labor costs to stay nimble and workers gravitate toward flexible work experiences that fit their lifestyles.”

The fastest-growing temporary occupations from 2019 to 2025 include:


Helpers, Production Workers—96,191 in 2019, projected to be 120,900 in 2025 (+26 percent).


Software Developers, Applications—20,902 in 2019, projected to be 24,150 in 2025 (+16 percent).


Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand—544,450 in 2019, projected to be 598,077 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Packers and Packagers, Hand—124,098 in 2019, projected to be 136,565 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators—57,429 in 2019, projected to be 62,958 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Human Resources Specialists—54,746 in 2019, projected to be 60,156 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Stock Clerks and Order Fillers—47,951 in 2019, projected to be 52,613 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders—46,843 in 2019, projected to be 51,356 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Registered Nurses—45,155 in 2019, projected to be 49,637 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Construction Laborers—44,767 in 2019, projected to be 49,120 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Substitute Teachers—40,318 in 2019, projected to be 44,375 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners—40,813 in 2019, projected to be 44,807 in 2025 (+10 percent).


Customer Service Representatives—91,746 in 2019, projected to be 95,475 in 2025 (+4 percent).


Office Clerks, General—118,404 in 2019, projected to be 123,016 in 2025 (+4 percent).

“The labor market continues to be tight, and businesses are using many avenues to find the talent to keep their competitive edge,” said Rob Sentz, Emsi’s chief innovation officer. “This analysis indicates that gigs and other forms of temporary employment are a viable way for people to enter the labor market and for companies to quickly locate talent.”

Source: CCH/Wolters Kluwer