Working 2 or More Jobs – Is This the New Normal?
Juggling More Than One Job
The number of multiple job holders in this country has been growing over the years even before we arrived at the terrible economy so many people are experiencing now in 2012. In fact the economy has been the cause for putting hundreds of thousands of people and families in perilous situations since the Crash of 2008.
There have always been people living on the edge from paycheck to paycheck, but now in the current economy the number of people in that situation, not surprisingly, has risen. In 1997 about 31% of the population was living from paycheck to paycheck with no safety net. According to Kathy Kristof of CBS News.com, Money Watch, the current percentage of people now living in that “one paycheck away from disaster” situation in the U.S. is 38%.
Many people are unemployed and have given up trying to find a job in the current economy, while many other people have taken jobs with far fewer hours and lower wages than they previously had in an effort to survive. In fact, many people have taken 2 or 3 of those low paying part-time jobs.
Seven years after the Crash of 2008, many people even now in 2015 remain underemployed or unemployed. Since they have given up trying to find work they are no longer included in the artificially low unemployment statistics. I say those statistics are artificially low because if everyone who really wanted and needed a job were included in those statistics the unemployment rate would be much higher.
More and more people are juggling 2 or more jobs
Working Multiple Jobs
Many of the people who work where I work, for the local school district, have 2 and sometimes 3 jobs. That is because most of the jobs for the school district are part-time and the wages are low.
In addition to working for the school district, some people work at Wal-Mart stocking shelves at night, some people work in cleaning crews, and some people hold jobs that are part-time in nursing homes, hospitals, retail stores, restaurants and so forth. They somehow juggle the two or three jobs they have so that they do not conflict with each other. There are also a number of people who have small businesses to supplement their income or who do odd jobs as they can find them.
Additionally, there are people who work second jobs for cash, and so it is likely they are not included in the U.S. Bureau’s Labor Statistics. Yes, there have always been people who do this, but the point is that with the economy being so bad for many individuals and families, more people than ever are working multiple jobs, and some of those jobs are for cash, out of necessity.
If you are a person who has hardly noticed the downturn in this economy, be thankful and count your blessings. You are in the minority.
People who are holding 2 or more jobs in this economy are not unusual. In fact, according to the most recent available numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2010 Census) in December of 2011 more than 7 million people in this country were holding 2 or more jobs. That’s 5% of the total workforce. Sometimes they are holding 2 full time jobs, sometimes one full-time and one part-time job, and sometimes it is 2 or more part-time jobs. More than half of all multiple job holders are women.
Since these statistics are several months old, it is reasonable to believe even more than 7 million workers in this country are holding 2 or more jobs because the economy has not improved appreciably since these statistics were published. In fact, the economy has gotten worse. The most recent job creation statistics from last month (July 2012) were dismal.
One reason things have not improved for people who are working full time, either at one job or several jobs combined, is that wages have not risen to keep up with higher prices for everything from rent to food to medical care, insurance, and pretty much everything.
Not All Multiple Job Holders Are In Low Pay Jobs
Not everyone who has found it necessary to hold 2 or more jobs in this economy is in a low paying job. Andrew Sum, professor of economics and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University says the better educated a person is, the more likely they are to be holding a second job.
This used to be common for high earners, especially people with special skills or training, just because the opportunities were there and that little extra money was nice to have.
However, more and more it is becoming a necessity for higher earners to take a second or third job just as it has been for low wage earners for a long time. With prices on everything going up and wages and salaries going down, high earners are having to choose between lowering their lifestyle or working additional jobs to maintain the lifestyle they have become accustomed to.
The economy has been negative for many people for a very long time. The only people who seem to think the economy is improving, if anyone does, are the people who have suffered the least from the beginning. For so many people we are in a depression, not a recession, as some of the better off people would want everyone to believe. More and more people are asking, “Is this the new normal?”
References for multiple job statistics
Kristof, Kathy. “More Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck.” CBS News.com. CBS Money Watch. July 23, 2012. n.page. Online. Internet 6 August 2012. Available http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505144_162-57477881/more-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck/
Tahmincioglu, Eve. “More Women Holding Down Multiple Jobs.” NBCNews.com. Careers. March 21, 2010. n.page. Online. Internet 6 August 2012. Available http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35912763/ns/business-careers/t/more-women-holding-down-multiple-jobs/#.UB81jI5u8UU
United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economics News Release. August 3, 2012. n.page. Online. Internet 6 August 2012. Availablehttp://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t16.htm
© 2012 C E Clark