Temp Employment Is Dominating Job Growth In The Largest Cities

Temp_2Earlier this week, we wrote about the fastest-growing employment sector in the U.S. — support activities for metal mining. But the industry that’s added the most total jobs since the recession is temporary help services, a low-paying sector that EMSI estimates has 765,000 more jobs in 2013 than it did at the start of 2009.

The hiring surge in temp help accounts for 15% of all job growth nationally the last four years (not including self-employment), even though the industry makes up 2% of the nation’s workforce. And in some metropolitan areas, the share of job growth that can be credited to the temp sector is much, much higher: 65% in Cincinnati, 51% in Milwaukee, 46% in Kansas City. Even in bigger metros, like Chicago and Philadelphia, the temp sector accounts for more than 40% of new jobs since 2009.

Is it a good thing that job growth in dozens of large cities has been dominated by temp help? The quick answer: probably not. Especially since few of these new temp jobs are turning into full-time employment offers.

Consider this exchange between The Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Weber and ManpowerGroup CEO Jeffrey Joerres:

WSJ: Companies typically staff up with temps during a recovery and convert them to permanent workers as conditions improve. Are you seeing that pattern now?

Mr. Joerres: In good times, 60% to 70% of our people will receive a full-time offer while on assignment. Right now, it’s around 30%, and the tepid economy is driving that. Permanent recruitment is up about 10% on a year-over-year basis in the U.S.

Manpower, an EMSI client, is one of the world’s largest staffing firms. Every day, as the WSJ pointed out, it sends out more than 600,000 temp workers to businesses in all sorts of sectors (up from 450,000 two years ago). And Joerres says only 30% of these workers are getting full-time offers during their temporary gigs. That’s hardly an encouraging sign when you consider the low wages for workers in temporary settings ($33,327 on average annually in the U.S.) and the fact that many firms are still hesitant — or “scared,” as CNN put it in a headline — to add permanent hires.

But here’s perhaps the most important takeaway from our quick research: The best-performing metros since the recession (e.g., Houston, Washington, D.C., San Jose) have the lowest share of new jobs coming from temp help services.

To see where in the U.S. the temp hiring boom has most consumed job growth, we checked the employment picture for the 100 most populous metros using EMSI’s 2013.2 dataset. Only four metros saw temp workforce declines from 2009-2013 (Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, New Orleans, Youngstown, and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville). And most others saw enormous temp gains — particularly compared to all other industries.

But here’s perhaps the most important takeaway from our quick research: The best-performing metros since the recession (e.g., Houston, Washington, D.C., San Jose) have the lowest share of new jobs coming from temp help services.

Mapping Total Gains

The following map, from EMSI’s mapping tool, shows total temp gains and losses for the largest 100 metros.

Note: EMSI’s 2013 employment numbers are annual average estimates based on historic and projected data from state and federal sources, such as the BLS’ Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

Map_TempHelp_TotalGrowth

Chicago has added the most temp jobs since 2009 (an estimated 45,444), and Knoxville, Tenn., has grown at the quickest rate of the top 100 MSAs (137%, or 4,280 new jobs). But Stockton, Calif., is No. 1 in terms of temp job growth dwarfing total job change: the Central Valley metro has added 1,604 jobs in temp help, and just 40 jobs total. That means if we subtracted its temp help gains, Stockton would still have fewer jobs than it did in 2009 — 1,564 fewer (a 1% decrease instead holding steady).

Three other metros are in the same situation as Stockton: Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (where temp help growth is 212% of total job change), Dayton (117% of total change), and Memphis (116%).

Temp_1

Meanwhile, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., has added 508 jobs since 2009, and 500 of them have been in temp help (98% of job growth). Here are other metros at the top of the list (the full table is below):

  • Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. — 66% of new jobs in temp help
  • Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. — 65%
  • Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C. — 64%
  • Lancaster, Pa. — 60%
  • Greensboro-High Point, N.C. — 59%
  • Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. — 58%
  • North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla. — 55%

Metros On The Rebound

On the flip side, the metros that have bounced back quickest from the recession have the smallest shares of new growth coming from temp help services. This includes Houston (8% of total job growth), San Jose (8%), Salt Lake City (6%), Austin (5%), and especially Washington, D.C. (2%). The temp help sector has grown by 11% in D.C. (2,701 new jobs), but the total D.C. economy has added 117,238 jobs.

Here’s the full list of metros. The top performers are at the bottom since we’ve ranked the metros by the highest share of new jobs in temp help.

Metro 2009 Temp Help Jobs 2013 Temp Help Jobs Temp Help Job Growth % Change Total Job Change (2009-2013) Share of New Jobs in Temp Help 2013 Avg. Earnings Per Temp Job
Source: QCEW Employees & Non-QCEW Employees – EMSI 2013.2 Class of Worker
Stockton, CA 3,366 4,970 1,604 48% 40 4010% $27,714
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA 4,167 5,477 1,310 31% 617 212% $21,456
Dayton, OH 4,850 6,899 2,049 42% 1,751 117% $25,724
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 20,162 27,654 7,492 37% 6,474 116% $22,777
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 3,365 3,865 500 15% 508 98% $26,291
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 5,868 8,553 2,685 46% 4,063 66% $29,060
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 15,346 21,150 5,804 38% 8,946 65% $26,439
Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC 10,626 18,453 7,827 74% 12,160 64% $29,675
Lancaster, PA 2,741 4,104 1,363 50% 2,253 60% $25,748
Greensboro-High Point, NC 7,315 10,536 3,221 44% 5,473 59% $26,786
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 6,253 8,830 2,577 41% 4,445 58% $34,889
North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 1,373 2,417 1,044 76% 1,905 55% $25,984
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 15,357 21,707 6,350 41% 12,411 51% $26,755
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 6,787 8,219 1,432 21% 2,934 49% $29,546
Kansas City, MO-KS 13,075 18,946 5,871 45% 12,755 46% $25,893
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 13,313 18,622 5,309 40% 11,972 44% $27,959
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 37,332 45,506 8,174 22% 19,752 41% $37,281
New Haven-Milford, CT 4,389 6,977 2,588 59% 6,501 40% $28,918
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 86,818 132,262 45,444 52% 114,535 40% $28,355
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY 1,422 1,639 217 15% 570 38% $33,815
Columbia, SC 4,162 7,124 2,962 71% 7,820 38% $28,422
Tucson, AZ 2,805 3,975 1,170 42% 3,184 37% $22,161
Knoxville, TN 3,123 7,403 4,280 137% 13,087 33% $32,735
Rochester, NY 7,412 9,440 2,028 27% 6,638 31% $32,809
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 10,848 12,056 1,208 11% 3,956 31% $34,975
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 8,684 11,221 2,537 29% 8,708 29% $29,517
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 3,635 5,740 2,105 58% 7,272 29% $50,350
Jacksonville, FL 9,406 15,339 5,933 63% 21,349 28% $29,560
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI 9,567 19,704 10,137 106% 37,630 27% $20,962
Jackson, MS 2,522 4,134 1,612 64% 6,023 27% $25,055
Madison, WI 3,054 5,856 2,802 92% 10,831 26% $29,697
St. Louis, MO-IL 12,898 16,930 4,032 31% 16,197 25% $31,089
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 17,268 30,051 12,783 74% 51,595 25% $27,363
Fresno, CA 3,396 5,231 1,835 54% 7,558 24% $27,618
Tulsa, OK 6,421 8,207 1,786 28% 8,301 22% $31,683
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 4,661 7,600 2,939 63% 14,133 21% $32,717
Richmond, VA 9,391 13,539 4,148 44% 20,323 20% $39,883
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 48,612 71,553 22,941 47% 112,415 20% $34,809
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 3,192 4,415 1,223 38% 6,118 20% $29,287
Chattanooga, TN-GA 2,463 4,242 1,779 72% 9,549 19% $28,863
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 4,864 6,533 1,669 34% 9,236 18% $34,928
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 31,095 47,391 16,296 52% 93,548 17% $31,963
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 2,758 2,969 211 8% 1,222 17% $32,487
Boise City-Nampa, ID 4,431 6,563 2,132 48% 12,766 17% $27,783
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 83,012 109,987 26,975 32% 162,144 17% $35,332
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 13,337 24,917 11,580 87% 71,538 16% $29,569
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ 5,492 7,244 1,752 32% 10,871 16% $24,922
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 27,159 43,172 16,013 59% 107,626 15% $38,248
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 9,390 11,388 1,998 21% 13,459 15% $25,133
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 11,951 17,254 5,303 44% 37,914 14% $26,484
Raleigh-Cary, NC 6,941 12,217 5,276 76% 38,167 14% $46,626
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 24,046 35,849 11,803 49% 88,981 13% $34,763
Columbus, OH 19,182 23,792 4,610 24% 38,003 12% $27,615
Baltimore-Towson, MD 18,204 24,668 6,464 36% 53,472 12% $37,496
Toledo, OH 4,477 5,845 1,368 31% 11,483 12% $24,740
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 15,891 25,731 9,840 62% 83,951 12% $40,054
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 4,870 5,842 972 20% 8,399 12% $33,297
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 59,013 86,759 27,746 47% 240,628 12% $32,540
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 24,363 32,990 8,627 35% 76,851 11% $35,326
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 15,151 19,996 4,845 32% 44,688 11% $35,463
Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC 3,448 5,715 2,267 66% 21,317 11% $30,281
Pittsburgh, PA 12,407 15,309 2,902 23% 28,544 10% $37,352
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC 13,721 19,833 6,112 45% 60,559 10% $36,987
Modesto, CA 1,789 2,091 302 17% 3,030 10% $29,818
Springfield, MA 2,680 3,695 1,015 38% 10,271 10% $31,970
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 15,572 20,243 4,671 30% 50,946 9% $28,923
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 86,265 115,897 29,632 34% 324,461 9% $39,265
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 12,466 18,473 6,007 48% 71,381 8% $54,756
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 29,823 39,205 9,382 31% 112,358 8% $45,261
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 40,935 59,596 18,661 46% 246,511 8% $47,116
El Paso, TX 4,584 5,814 1,230 27% 17,519 7% $23,016
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 24,992 30,922 5,930 24% 86,948 7% $51,953
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 2,775 3,603 828 30% 12,402 7% $22,213
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 13,350 17,095 3,745 28% 56,444 7% $26,360
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 19,839 23,172 3,333 17% 52,032 6% $38,122
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 5,049 5,615 566 11% 9,015 6% $33,035
Provo-Orem, UT 1,109 2,436 1,327 120% 21,291 6% $25,801
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 1,148 1,828 680 59% 11,444 6% $22,197
Salt Lake City, UT 8,325 11,344 3,019 36% 53,784 6% $29,760
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 26,446 28,058 1,612 6% 29,205 6% $23,929
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 10,071 14,848 4,777 47% 87,056 5% $33,620
Colorado Springs, CO 3,077 3,722 645 21% 12,499 5% $34,627
Bakersfield-Delano, CA 3,491 5,017 1,526 44% 31,450 5% $33,067
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 2,302 3,005 703 31% 14,653 5% $21,098
Baton Rouge, LA 4,627 5,104 477 10% 10,664 4% $46,237
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 23,156 28,150 4,994 22% 125,134 4% $57,682
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 4,817 4,929 112 2% 3,277 3% $25,272
Oklahoma City, OK 6,642 7,423 781 12% 30,577 3% $35,785
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 23,672 26,373 2,701 11% 117,238 2% $55,400
Akron, OH 5,509 5,606 97 2% 6,739 1% $24,469
Worcester, MA 4,581 4,762 181 4% 12,871 1% $30,145
Honolulu, HI 2,714 2,866 152 6% 15,269 1% $29,778

Poorest-Performing Metros

Additionally, eight metros either experienced overall job loss from 2009-2013 or experienced job loss in the temp sector (the real exceptions, as we mentioned above). The worst of the lot is Albuquerque, which has nearly 10,000 fewer total jobs in 2013 than it did in 2009 and only 398 more temp jobs.

Metropolitan Statistical Area Name 2009 Temp Help Jobs 2013 Temp Help Jobs Job Change % Change Total Job Change 2013 Avg. Earnings Per Temp Job
Source: QCEW Employees & Non-QCEW Employees – EMSI 2013.2 Class of Worker
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 19,979 19,977 -2 0% 33,555 $39,358
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 8,240 7,895 -345 -4% 18,489 $33,831
Albuquerque, NM 3,802 4,200 398 10% -9,770 $36,331
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 2,206 1,871 -335 -15% 4,888 $26,971
Syracuse, NY 2,395 2,488 93 4% -1,215 $24,302
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 1,649 1,392 -257 -16% 921 $33,361
Wichita, KS 3,038 4,071 1,033 34% -3,378 $32,041
Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA 10,342 20,099 9,757 94% -3,428 $34,349

Data shown in this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market data and analysis tool. To look at temp jobs in your region or for more information on EMSI, contact Josh Wright (jwright@economicmodeling.com). Follow us on Twitter @DesktopEcon.

5 Responses to “Temp Employment Is Dominating Job Growth In The Largest Cities”

  1. Scott Sheely

    Josh:
    Could you send this article as a PDF? I will be discussing it with our economic development folks on Tuesday afternoon and plan to challenge the local newspapers to do an article on it as soon as possible. I’ll add our local data.
    Have you made any attempt to tie this to industry? I wonder if this is how manufacturing is dealing with its recent “resurgence” ? This appears to be the case in our area.
    Thanks. Scott Sheely

    • Joshua Wright

      Sure thing, Scott. I’ll get you that PDF, and that’s a very good question re: manufacturing. We can tie these jobs to occupations via staffing patterns, but the way data is classified, these jobs are being classified in the temp industry, not to manufacturing or construction, etc.

  2. Terrence

    Do you have a breakdown per industry in each of the cities listed? If so, can you email it to me.

  3. Joshua Wright

    Terrence, we do have occupational breakdowns for the temp help industry. I’ll be touch via email.