It Takes Two (or More): Oregon’s Multiple Jobholders in 2018

by Anna Johnson

August 27, 2019

In 2018, 110,000 Oregonians held more than one job in addition to their primary job and were considered to be multiple jobholders. The multiple-jobholding rate – the proportion of multiple jobholders among all employed workers 16 years and older – was 5.5 percent, which was above the U.S. rate of 5.0 percent. Oregon’s multiple-jobholding rate reached a recent high of 6.7 percent in 2012, and was as low as 5.2 percent in 2004.

Multiple jobholding has generally become rarer in Oregon and the U.S. since 1995. Research shows that people are less likely to take on a second job than they were in the past. Data in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey.

Oregonians More Likely to Work Multiple Jobs

Oregon workers were more likely to hold more than one job at a time than our national counterparts, a trend dating back at least two decades. Oregon’s multiple jobholding rate has been higher than the U.S. every year since 1994, with the brief exception of
2004. The U.S. multiple jobholding rate has remained at 4.9 percent or 5.0 percent since 2010.
Economic conditions can certainly affect whether or not an individual wants or needs to work more than one job, but there is no clear association between the multiple-jobholding rate and the business cycle. That is because fewer jobs are available during recessions, right when more people need a second job to help meet their expenses. During expansions, increased income and looser credit constraints mean fewer people need a second job to meet expenses. These factors seem to cancel each other out on the whole, which is why multiple jobholding rates don’t rise or fall significantly with the business cycle.

Reasons for Working More than One Job

Most people working more than one job say they are doing so in order to earn extra money (38.1%), to meet expenses, or to pay off debt (25.6%). Another 17.6 percent of multiple jobholders report that their main reason for working a second job is because they enjoy it, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in an article about Multiple Jobholding Over the Past Two Decades. So working more than one job is thought to serve both economic and noneconomic purposes.

Working two or more jobs tends to be a temporary situation for most workers. Every month, more than 30 percent of multiple jobholders return to working just one job at a time.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Multiple-Jobholding Rates

Northern states generally have higher multiple jobholding rates than southern states, as shown in the map. South Dakota had the highest multiple jobholding rate at 8.2 percent in 2018, followed by Montana at 7.9 percent. New Mexico had the lowest multiple jobholding rate at 3.6 percent.

Multiple jobholding among Oregon’s neighboring states ranged from a high of 5.8 percent in Idaho, to 5.3 percent in Washington, to just 4.2 percent in Nevada, and 3.8 percent in California.
Who Are the Multiple Jobholders?

Demographic information about multiple jobholders isn’t available at the state level, but there is more detailed information about people who hold more than one job at the national level.

When looking at multiple jobholders by age groups, those ages 20 to 24 have the highest multiple jobholding rate, at 5.6 percent in 2018. The youngest members of the labor force, people ages 16 to 19, and those 65 years and older have the lowest rates of multiple job holders at 3.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. Those in the “prime working age” group (25 to 54 years old) have a multiple jobholding rate of 5.2 percent. Those 55 to 64 years old have a multiple jobholding rate of 4.6 percent.

In 2018, there were 7,545,000 multiple jobholders in the United States. Of those, 3,934,000 were women, while the remaining 3,798,000 were men. The multiple jobholding rate for women in 2018 was 5.4 percent and it was 4.6 percent for men.

When this series of data began in 1994, the multiple jobholding rate for men and women was essentially equal, hovering around 6.0 percent. However, as multiple jobholders decreased for men and women in the late 1990s, women began consistently having a higher multiple jobholding rate than men.


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