The Cities Where Temp Jobs Are Poised to Grow the Fastest

Published on Jul 1, 2014

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

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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 three 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% for temporary help services. Leading the charge is Raleigh, North Carolina, where temp jobs are projected to skyrocket 43% over that time.

Kansas City (33%), Indianapolis (32%), Memphis (30%), and Orlando (30%) are also projected to far eclipse national trends.

MSA2013 Temp Jobs2018 Projected Temp JobsProjected ChangeProjected % Change2014 Total EarningsRaleigh, NC12,43217,7415,30943%$46,575Kansas City, MO-KS17,31523,0745,75933%$26,465Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN31,34341,3089,96532%$27,462Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL22,05228,6196,56730%$28,228Memphis, TN-MS-AR27,29335,3538,06030%$23,101Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN23,95431,0107,05629%$30,061Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA17,43222,5325,10029%$37,076Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA29,89238,4398,54729%$49,863Jacksonville, FL12,85516,5063,65128%$29,454Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA30,31138,2167,90526%$22,858Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI132,404166,87834,47426%$28,150Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA20,15424,7124,55823%$36,617Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO24,01729,2745,25722%$39,307Columbus, OH26,73732,4525,71521%$28,611Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL36,29844,0287,73021%$35,907Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN18,68622,6263,94021%$27,106Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC22,19426,8224,62821%$37,358Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI46,09955,6139,51421%$39,098Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA67,79181,68313,89220%$34,492Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH40,58848,7938,20520%$45,923Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX83,864100,29416,43020%$31,998Cleveland-Elyria, OH19,69123,4283,73719%$28,778St. Louis, MO-IL18,17821,4113,23318%$29,948Austin-Round Rock, TX14,80217,3952,59318%$33,500Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD24,31328,5024,18917%$36,336Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI23,46327,3863,92317%$27,959Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN21,09424,4973,40316%$27,385Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX57,60966,9019,29216%$46,373Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT8,89210,2711,37916%$34,028Birmingham-Hoover, AL7,9279,0531,12614%$28,456Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI45,24551,6176,37214%$32,899San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA18,44621,0252,57914%$54,549Pittsburgh, PA15,51517,5822,06713%$39,393Providence-Warwick, RI-MA11,24012,7251,48513%$29,866New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA120,438135,59415,15613%$38,479Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD46,66152,1715,51012%$38,034Salt Lake City, UT11,43412,4551,0219%$29,779Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA105,639112,7367,0977%$33,629San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA27,92629,5701,6446%$57,495Oklahoma City, OK7,9678,3593925%$34,919San Diego-Carlsbad, CA22,83223,9041,0725%$38,837Richmond, VA11,92912,4295004%$35,459San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX16,74717,2555083%$26,135New Orleans-Metairie, LA8,5768,7541782%$30,686Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV12,60712,8482412%$25,812Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY6,0096,1191102%$32,824Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV28,43228,494620%$52,413Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ33,87233,895230%$33,871Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC12,89512,609-286-2%$34,786Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL19,41314,395-5,018-26%$36,977Source: EMSI 2014.2 Class of Worker (QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW Employees)

While temp employment is accelerating in nearly every large metro, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro is a clear exception. It’s projected to see a 26% drop in temporary help services—a loss of more than 5,000 jobs—from 2013 to 2018. This after temp jobs declined 48% in Tampa-St. Pete from 2007 to 2013. If the projection holds—and it’s only a projection*—the Tampa-St. Pete metro will have gone from more than 37,000 temp jobs in 2007 to less than 15,000 in 2018, a dramatic 60% reduction.

The only other metro expected to see a drop in temp workers is Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (-2%).

*EMSI projections are basically past trends extrapolated into the future, which are also informed by official federal and state projections (which in turn are informed by both statistical models and expert opinion). EMSI projections are not “forecasts” or “predictions.” Also, because the BLS publishes employment projections biennially and states projections are on varying schedules, projections may not reflect trends seen in the most recent years of data.

Fast-Growing Occupations Inside Temp Sector for Top Metros

For the 10 metros poised to grow the quickest through 2018, we explored our data to identify the fastest-growing occupations inside the temp sector. These numbers come from Analyst, EMSI’s labor market research tool, and specifically our regional staffing pattern data—the percentage of jobs in a given industry in specific occupations.

Note: These are occupations that 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% projected growth, 2013-2018)

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (116 jobs in 2013, 50% growth, $21.57 per hour)

  • Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders (208 jobs, 46% growth, $15.60)

  • Maintenance and repair workers (123 jobs, 45% growth, $17.87)

2. Kansas City (33%)

  • Sales representatives, services, all other (117 jobs in 2013, 36% growth, $26.25 per hour)

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (187 jobs, 36% growth, $19.51)

  • Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (159 jobs, 35% growth, $17.38)

3. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson (32%)

  • Construction laborers (522 jobs in 2013, 39% growth, $16.52 per hour)

  • Computer systems analysts (118 jobs, 37% growth, $35.84)

  • Computer user support specialists (141 jobs, 37% growth, $20.71)

4 (tie). Memphis (30%)

  • Sales representatives, services, all other (129 jobs in 2013, 40% growth, $22.35 per hour)

  • Computer user support specialists (102 jobs, 39%, $22.53)

  • Registered nurses (334 jobs, 38%, $28.76)

4 (tie). Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (30%)

  • Machinists (115 jobs in 2013, 37% growth, $21.80 per hour)

  • General and operations managers (159 jobs, 35% growth, $44.70)

  • Computer systems analysts (102 jobs, 33% growth, $40.91)

6 (tie). Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (29%)

  • Machinists (129 jobs in 2013, 42% growth, $24.42 per hour)

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (239 jobs, 39% growth, $24.07)

  • Construction laborers (538 jobs, 36% growth, $18.94)

6 (tie). Sacramento—Roseville—Arden-Arcade (29%)

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (158 jobs in 2013, 37% growth, $26.27 per hour)

  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (313 jobs, 35% growth, $17.42)

  • Maintenance and repair workers (129 jobs, 35% growth, $18.68)

6 (tie). Nashville-Davidson—Murfreesboro—Franklin (29%)

  • Registered nurses (219 jobs in 2013, 45% growth, $28.48 per hour)

  • Computer user support specialists (106 jobs, 36% growth, $20.62)

  • Machinists (120 jobs, 36 %, $19.72)

9. Jacksonville (28%)

  • Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (102 jobs in 2013, 34% growth, $20.55 per hour)

  • Registered nurses (187 jobs, 32 % growth, $29.48)

  • Maintenance and repair workers (105 jobs, 31% growth, $16.42)

10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (26%)

  • Machinists (172 jobs in 2013, 33% growth, $19.02 per hour)

  • Construction laborers (585 jobs in 2013, 31% growth, $17.86)

  • Secretaries and administrative assistants (570 jobs, 31% growth, $16.67)


EMSI has written about the large presence of temp workers in manufacturing. Just over 50% of all manufacturing jobs are in production occupations such as 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 hotspot 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% of all temp jobs.

As for the tech industry, notice the computer occupations scattered among the top three in these metros. This is especially the case in Indianapolis, where computer systems analysts and computer user support specialists are projected to grow rapidly in the temp realm.

For more on EMSI’s employment data—available at the county, MSA, and ZIP code level—or to see data for your region, email Josh Wright. Follow EMSI on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.