Higher Percentage of Idahoans Work Multiple Jobs Than Nation

multiple jobholders
National data have been showing the economy adding jobs slowly but at a consistent pace since 2010. The same is true for Idaho although the pace has been even more sluggish.

At the same time, the unemployment rate has been more stubborn. Any positive changes in the rate for both the nation and the state have not been at the same rate the economy appears to be adding jobs. Much of this discrepancy can be chalked up to the different survey methods used to calculate unemployment and jobs. Multiple job holders taking some of these new jobs does seem possible although the data on multiple job holders are limited.

Nationally, the percentage of employed workers holding multiple jobs has steadily declined since 1995. In 2012, 4.9 percent of workers had at least a second job. In 1995, it was 6.2 percent.

Idaho has had a similar downward trend, but the rate has been consistently higher than the nation’s. The state peaked in 1996 at 10.3 percent before dropping to 7.6 percent in 2002. The rate has fluctuated since then but is trending downward. For 2012, the annual average was 6.5 percent.

jobholders as percentageIdaho ranks in the middle compared to its border states. Montana topped the region with 7.8 percent in 2012 while Nevada was the only state in the region below the national average.

Total number of multiple job holders has fluctuated with the economy. In 1997, the nation had almost 8 million people working more than one job. That declined through the 2001 recession before picking up with the rest of the economy in 2003. The total continued increasing during the expansion before dropping off in the Great Recession. The total rose slightly in 2012 to 2.8 million.

The number of multiple job holders in Idaho was a little more erratic, but there was an increase during the expansion. Since then, multiple job holders have declined to an average of around 47,000 in 2012.

The majority of Idaho’s multiple job holders were male at just over 25,000. But a larger share of working women had more than one job at 6.8 percent.

With respect to education, those with bachelor’s degrees or higher made up the largest group of multiple job holders at nearly 17,000.

That group also had the second highest share of workers holding more than one job at 8.3 percent, just behind workers with associate degrees at 9 percent.

It makes sense that more workers would be seeking second jobs in the current economy and during a recession, especially in Idaho with its large number of seasonal jobs and declining wages. But the percentage of multiple job holders declined during the recession, possibly because many of those who wanted second jobs could not find them due to the economy slow down. This number could be much larger than the number who actually found second jobs.

Andrew.Townsend@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
(208) 332-3570, ext. 3455

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