It Takes Two (or More): Oregon’s Multiple Jobholders in 2021

by Anna Johnson

April 20, 2022

In 2021, 100,000 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 4.9 percent, a record low for the series, which goes back to 1994. Oregon’s multiple-jobholding rate reached a record high of 8.7 percent in 1995. The national multiple jobholding rate in 2021 was 4.6 percent, very close to its record low of 4.5 percent seen in 2020.

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. The Pandemic Recession and the subsequent recovery in 2021 have shown a decrease in the multiple jobholding rate. 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 had remained between 5.0 and 6.0 percent since 2010, until 2020 when the rate dropped to 4.5%.
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. Montana had the highest multiple jobholding rate at 8.0 percent in 2021, followed by Iowa at 7.5 percent. Florida had the lowest multiple job holding rate at 3.3 percent.

Multiple jobholding among Oregon’s neighboring states ranged from a high of 6.3 percent in Idaho, to 4.9 percent in Washington, to just 3.7 percent in Nevada and 3.6 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 in the “prime working age” group (25 to 54 years old) had the highest multiple jobholding rate, at 4.8 percent in 2021. Younger workers (16 to 19 years old) had a multiple jobholding rate of 3.4 percent, the lowest of any age group. Those 55 and older had rates of multiple jobholding at 4.1 percent. Workers 20 to 24 years old had a multiple jobholding rate of 4.6 percent.

In 2021, those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity had a multiple jobholding rate of 3.1 percent. Black or African Americans held multiple jobs at a rate of 5.4 percent, White people had a multiple jobholding rate of 4.5 percent and Asians had rate of 3.1 percent.

In 2021, women’s multiple jobholding rate was 5.0 percent and men’s was 4.3 percent. 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. With the onset of the pandemic recession, the multiple jobholding rates for men and women began dropping.


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