Buoyant growth expected in temp services

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Alternative work arrangements will continue to gain traction in the gig economy, according to a new study by workforce management company TrueBlue and labor market analytics firm Emsi.

Temporary help services employment is projected to grow 8.5% to more than 3.2 million jobs between now and 2025, upstaging 6% growth for all U.S. jobs. Researchers describe this category, the largest of all gig employment, as “a bellwether for broader growth trends.”

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

See also: Benefits for the gig economy

More than 4,000 U.S. gig workers were surveyed in October by both companies, providing insight into the nature of their work and what’s important to them. One telling finding is that 42% of temp workers take on at least two gigs per week with more opportunities to choose from seen on the horizon. Earning extra income was cited as the top reason for taking a temp job, followed by a desire to get one’s foot in the door with a company.

Maggie Lower, TrueBlue’s chief marketing officer, says same-day pay services are highly valued, especially since many gig workers are picking up shifts or projects to address real-time expenses. “Knowing that a company they’re assigned to has been vetted and the work environment is safe is also a major selling point,” she adds.

Patrick Beharelle, the company’s CEO, predicts a rosy outlook for gig employment “as more companies choose to reduce fixed labor costs to stay nimble and workers gravitate toward flexible work experiences that fit their lifestyles.”

Nearly 480,000 temp jobs have been added since 2012, the study suggests. Supply chain-related jobs such as production, transportation and customer-service reps dominate the list of fastest-growing temporary occupations.

See also: Portable benefits: Perks for the gig economy

Of 14 temporary occupations, production workers or helpers are projected to grow the fastest between 2019 and 2025 at 26%, followed by software or applications developers at 16%. A 10% increase is seen across 10 other categories.

Leading the way among temp workers are laborers, freight, stock and material movers, as well as hand helpers and production workers, whose numbers are expected to swell by 53,627 from 544,450 to 598,077. Office temps are expected to grow more slowly at 4% apiece for office clerks and customer-service representatives.

Most temps are ages 35 and older (57%) or 25 to 34 (27%). Older workers round out temp hires (18% apiece for those 45 to 54 and 55 and older), with the rest being 24 and younger (16%).

The nation’s largest cities were well represented in the research, with Los Angeles expected to add the largest number of temp jobs between now and 2025 at 13,466, followed by Dallas, (13,435), Chicago (12,944), Grand Rapids, Michigan (8,997) and New York (8,718).

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