The job market for temp workers has been soaring for long enough that it’s easy to forget how badly it was hurting during the recession. The temporary help services industry, long considered an early indicator of full-time hiring trends, lost almost 750,000 jobs from 2007 to 2009 — more than any other industry in the United States and more than the next three worst-performing industries combined.
From that low point, though, the staffing agencies that make up temporary help services immediately started to recover. Temp employment passed its pre-recession peak in 2013 and is projected to exceed 3 million jobs in 2017. The recession now looks like a mere hiccup for the temp industry. And in some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the temp recovery (and subsequent explosion of jobs) has been even more remarkable than the national rebound. From 2013 to 2018, 18 of the nation’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas are expected to exceed the national growth rate of 20 percent for temporary help services. Leading the charge is Raleigh, North Carolina, where temporary job growth is projected to skyrocket 43 percent over that time. Kansas City (33 percent), Indianapolis (32 percent), Memphis (30 percent), and Orlando (30 percent) are also projected to far eclipse national trends.
For the 10 metros poised to grow the quickest through 2018, CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) explored data from EMSI to identify the fastest-growing occupations inside the temp sector. These numbers come from Analyst, EMSI’s labor market research tool, and specifically its regional staffing pattern data — the percentage of jobs in a given industry in specific occupations. Note: These occupations listed below have at least 100 jobs in the temp industry and pay $15 or more in median hourly earnings in the selected metro. Wages cover anyone working in the occupation, not just temporary employees.
1. Raleigh (43 percent projected growth, 2013-2018)
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (116 jobs in 2013, 50 percent growth, $21.57 per hour)
- Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders (208 jobs, 46 percent growth, $15.60)
- Maintenance and repair workers (123 jobs, 45 percent growth, $17.87)
2. Kansas City (33 percent)
- Sales representatives, services, all other (117 jobs in 2013, 36 percent growth, $26.25 per hour)
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (187 jobs, 36 percent growth, $19.51)
- Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (159 jobs, 35 percent growth, $17.38)
3. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson (32 percent)
- Construction laborers (522 jobs in 2013, 39 percent growth, $16.52 per hour)
- Computer systems analysts (118 jobs, 37 percent growth, $35.84)
- Computer user support specialists (141 jobs, 37 percent growth, $20.71)
4 (tie). Memphis (30 percent)
- Sales representatives, services, all other (129 jobs in 2013, 40 percent growth, $22.35 per hour)
- Computer user support specialists (102 jobs, 39 percent, $22.53)
- Registered nurses (334 jobs, 38 percent, $28.76)
4 (tie). Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (30 percent)
- Machinists (115 jobs in 2013, 37 percent growth, $21.80 per hour)
- General and operations managers (159 jobs, 35 percent growth, $44.70)
- Computer systems analysts (102 jobs, 33 percent growth, $40.91)
6 (tie). Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (29 percent)
- Machinists (129 jobs in 2013, 42 percent growth, $24.42 per hour)
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (239 jobs, 39 percent growth, $24.07)
- Construction laborers (538 jobs, 36 percent growth, $18.94)
6 (tie). Sacramento—Roseville—Arden-Arcade (29 percent)
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (158 jobs in 2013, 37 percent growth, $26.27 per hour)
- Secretaries and administrative assistants (313 jobs, 35 percent growth, $17.42)
- Maintenance and repair workers (129 jobs, 35 percent growth, $18.68)
6 (tie). Nashville-Davidson—Murfreesboro—Franklin (29 percent)
- Registered nurses (219 jobs in 2013, 45 percent growth, $28.48 per hour)
- Computer user support specialists (106 jobs, 36 percent growth, $20.62)
- Machinists (120 jobs, 36 percent, $19.72)
9. Jacksonville (28 percent)
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (102 jobs in 2013, 34 percent growth, $20.55 per hour)
- Registered nurses (187 jobs, 32 percent growth, $29.48)
- Maintenance and repair workers (105 jobs, 31 percent growth, $16.42)
10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (26 percent)
- Machinists (172 jobs in 2013, 33 percent growth, $19.02 per hour)
- Construction laborers (585 jobs in 2013, 31 percent growth, $17.86)
- Secretaries and administrative assistants (570 jobs, 31 percent growth, $16.67)
Temporary Job Growth: Trends and Takeaways
You may notice some trends throughout these findings. EMSI has written about the large presence of temp workers in manufacturing. Just over 50 percent of all manufacturing jobs are in production occupations, including machinists, which happens to be the top occupation in our list for Orlando, Seattle and Riverside. The health care and tech sectors are two other hot spots for solid-paying temp jobs. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are among the fastest-growing occupations inside the temp sector in many of the top metros. Nationally, health care practitioners account for 5 percent of all temp jobs. As for the tech industry, notice the computer occupations scattered among the top three in these metros, especially in Indianapolis, where computer systems analysts and computer user support specialists are projected to grow rapidly in the temp realm.
Keep these findings in mind as you plan your recruitment strategy over the next several years.
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