Study suggests upward trend in people holding multiple jobs

Researchers’ data shows more of a spike in women multiple jobholders.

The percentage of people working multiple jobs increased between 1996 and 2018, according to a new study by U.S. Census Bureau researchers.

The researchers found that 7.2% of people aged 16 and older in the U.S. were multiple jobholders as of the first quarter of 2018, compared to 6.8% in 1996, according to the report analyzing data from 18 states. Ohio was not one of the states.

The researchers said their data is at odds with the U.S. Census bureau’s Community Population Survey, which shows a decline in people holding multiple jobs over the period studied. The population survey is the U.S. government’s dominant source for data on multiple jobholders and is the basis of monthly labor market statistics released by the U.S. government.

The new report relies on a different data collection method than the population survey and does not include government workers or independent contractors. The new report used data derived from state-submitted unemployment insurance wage records, the quarterly census of employment and wages, and Census Bureau demographic and business data.

It found that the rate for females holding multiple jobs increased more than the rate for males, likely because females are more likely to hold jobs in healthcare, accommodations and food service, said Jim Spletzer, a principal economist and co-author of the report.

The rate for females holding multiple jobs increased to 9.1% from 7.5% and for males it rose to 6.6% from 6.3% between 1996 and 2018, Speltzer said during a webinar on the report this week.

Earnings from multiple jobs were, on average, 27.8% of a multiple job-holder’s total quarterly earnings, the report found.

Multiple jobholders earn, on average, less than people who have just one job.

Speltzer said the research indicates that multiple job holding increased because of:

  • A growing number of jobs in industries where part-time work is normal.
  • Earnings stagnation in lower paying jobs.
  • Advances in technology make it easier to do a second job.

The new report’s findings have not been reviewed by the U.S. Census and no endorsement should be inferred, according to the report. The researchers said they will continue their research.

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