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Temporary Help Workers in the U.S. Labor Market

The number of jobs in the temporary help services industry reached an all-time high of 2.9 million in May 2015, accounting for 2.4 percent of all private sector jobs in the U.S. economy. This short report looks at the latest official U.S. government statistics on the temporary help services industry and its workforce to provide an overview of its role in the labor market and the U.S. economy. The temporary help services industry tends to be a leading indicator of employment and fluctuates with the business cycle.

  • Temporary help workers tend to be younger than the average worker, are more likely to be female, and are less likely to have earned a master's, doctorate, or professional degree.
  • Two-thirds of temporary workers fall into three major occupational groups: transportation and material moving; production; and office and administrative support.
  • Temp workers generally earn a lower hourly wage than their directly-hired counterparts in the same occupation.
  • In recent years, the states in the middle and Southeastern part of the United States have been using temp workers more than other states.
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