For many, the future of work will be temporary

New research confirms that a major area of growth in the future of work over the next several years will be temporary, or gig jobs.

As the Labor Department releases the unemployment report for October, research out today confirms that a major area of growth in the future of work over the next several years will be temporary, or gig jobs. And what may be the most surprising finding — workers 35 and older make up the majority of this segment of the economy.

The study by TrueBlue and Emsi projects that gig employment will outpace the growth rate for all U.S. jobs, increasing to more than 3.2 million jobs by 2025.

The October survey of 4,000 temporary workers focused on Temporary Help Services workers who are employed by companies as well as those who are self-employed.

According to the data:

  • This is not a new phenomenon. 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 hire and workers seeking greater control over when and where they work.
  • Temporary work skews towards older age groups. 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. Here’s a further breakdown:
    • 24 and younger – 16 percent
    • 25 to 34 – 27 percent
    • 35 to 44 – 21 percent
    • 45 to 54 – 18 percent
    • 55 and older – 18 percent
  • 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.
  • In raw numbers, the fastest-growing temporary occupations from 2019 to 2025 will be led by supply chain roles from manufacturing and warehouse jobs to various positions in the transport industry. In percentage terms, skilled jobs such as registered nurses and software developers will be in high demand.
Occupation Temporary Employment


Temporary Employment


Temporary Employment


2019 to 2025

Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 544.450 598,077 53,627


Helpers – Production Workers 96,191 120,900 24,709


Packers and Packagers, Hand 124,098 136,565 12,467


Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators 57,429 62,958 5,529


Human Resources Specialists 54,746 60,156 5,410


Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 47,951 52,613 4,662


Office Clerks, General 118,404 123,016 4,612


Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders 46,843 51,356 4,513


Registered Nurses 45,155 49,637 4,482


Construction Laborers 44,767 49,120 4,353


Substitute Teachers 40,318 44,375 4,056


Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 40,813 44,807 3,994


Customer Service Representatives 91,746 95,475 3,729


Software Developers, Applications 20,902 24,150 3,248



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