It Takes Two (or More): Oregon’s Multiple Jobholders in 2020

by Anna Johnson

October 18, 2021

In 2020, 102,000 Oregonians held more than one job in addition to their primary job and were considered multiple jobholders. The multiple-jobholding rate – the proportion of multiple jobholders among all employed workers 16 years and older – was 5.2%, which was above the U.S. rate of 4.5%. Oregon’s multiple-jobholding rate reached a recent high of 6.7% in 2012, and was as low as 5.2% 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 between 5.0% and 6.0% 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% 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% 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. Montana had the highest multiple jobholding rate at 8.7% in 2020, followed by South Dakota at 8.1%. Arkansas, California, and Nevada had the lowest multiple jobholding rates at 3.3%.

Multiple jobholding among Oregon’s neighboring states ranged from a high of 6.0% in Idaho, to 4.3% in Washington, to just 3.3% in Nevada and 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 in the “prime working age” group (25 to 54 years old) had the highest multiple jobholding rate, at 4.8% in 2020. Younger workers (16 – 19 years old) had a multiple jobholding rate of 3.3%, the lowest of any age group. Those 55 to 64 years old and those 65 years and older had rates of multiple jobholders at 4.2% and 3.8%, respectively. Workers 20 to 24 years old had a multiple jobholding rate of 4.4%.

In 2020, those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity had a multiple jobholding rate of 3.2%. Black or African Americans held multiple jobs at a rate of 5.4% and Asians had a multiple jobholding rate of 3.4%.

In 2020, there were 6,687,000 multiple jobholders in the United States. Of those, about 3,429,000 were women, while the remaining 3,258,000 were men. The multiple jobholding rate for women in 2020 was 5.0% and it was 4.1% 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%. However, as multiple jobholders decreased for men and women in the late 1990s, women began consistently having a higher multiple jobholding rate than men. With the onset of the pandemic recession, the multiple jobholding rates for men and women began dropping.

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