Multiple Jobholding in Missouri

What percentage of Missourians held down multiple jobs in 2005? Was this above or below the national average? And what about our neighboring states? MERIC presents new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data that might explain why the coffee goes so quickly.

Missouri Above National Average
In 2005, 6.5 percent of Missourians held down multiple jobs, according to the BLS, above the national average of 5.3 percent. Missouri's rate was unchanged from 2004, when both the national and most states' multiple jobs average declined slightly. 

Missouri's rank for multiple jobholding was 16th in the nation among all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Missouri and Surrounding States
Missouri ranked fourth among its neighbors: only Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas had higher rates of multiple jobholding.

Nebraska was not only first among these states but fifth in the entire country, at 9.1 percent; while Arkansas was last among our neighbors at 4.7 percent.

Does Less Mean More?
A detailed look at national rates of multiple jobholding reveals that many of the less populous states also have higher jobholding rates. Wyoming, North and South Dakota and Alaska comprise the top four in multiple jobs -- and are among the least populous states, according to the US Census. Wyoming is the least populous state in the union, North Dakota third least populous, Alaska fourth and South Dakota sixth.

The population density explanation is largely borne out by an examination of states with the lowest rates of jobholding: California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois, the five most populous states, all have low rates of multiple jobholding.

The BLS report does not try to explain this phenomenon, but notes elsewhere ("Reasons for working multiple jobs," October 2000) that people become multiple jobholders for a variety of reasons. Of the 8.5 million people who worked more than one job in May 1997, 4 out of every 10 did so to meet regular household expenses or to pay off debt. Other common reasons cited included enjoying the work on the second job, wanting to save for the future, wanting to get experience or build up a business and wanting extra money to buy something special.

BLS also notes that most states with high multiple jobholding rates in 2005 have had consistently high rates for as long as estimates have been available.

Click here to read the full BLS report.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics' Local Area Unemployment Statistics and Current Population Survey; US Census Bureau Population Estimate.

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