The Untold Story of People Working Multiple Jobs


The monthly jobs report was released three weeks ago. This column has written numerous articles on the jobs report:

  • "Stellar November Jobs Report" reported the third best October to November Private Sector Worker growth rate since November 1980.
  • "Five Presidents after Ten Months" broke down the Current Employment Statistics and the Current Population Statistics data for Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, Obama and Trump. President Trump has added the most non-seasonally adjusted CES workers and had the second strongest NSA CES growth rate.
  • "Amazonian Recovery: Women are Winning" examined the data for full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and unemployed workers by gender. Women have added more full-time job than men. There are only 69,000 more full-time male workers as of November 2017 compared to July 2007.
  • "November Sector Surge in Workers" reflects some of that difference in recovery via the Super Sector data. The Leisure and Hospitality sector and the Education and Health Sector have seen huge run-ups in workers since 2007. These have been predominantly female driven sectors, traditionally. The Manufacturing sector, Mining and Logging Sector, Construction Sector, and Information and Technology Sector have all been predominantly male dominated industries. These sectors have not yet recovered to 2007 levels of workers.
  • The recovery has been experienced in different ways depending upon your age. "November's Aging Workforce" details how there are fewer people working between the ages of 35 and 54 years of age than were working during November 2007.

When  the first analysis was published there was comment made regarding the multiple job holder data. It was anticipated that the total number of multiple job holders would rise as people hired seasonal help for the Christmas buying season. There was a question as to whether or not the November record level of people working two part-time jobs that was set last November would be exceeded this November.  The Month to month data and the year to year data paint different pictures.


The Drop in Multiple Job Workers hit those working two Part-time Jobs. Even though there was growth recorded in those working a primary full-time job and a secondary part-time job, a month to month increase in those working two part-time jobs,  we saw a drop November to November in those working two part-time jobs.  Up was down. We saw fewer than 2 million people working two part-time jobs this November for the first November since 2012. We dropped under 7.6 million people working two jobs during November, which was even slightly lower than what was recorded during November 2015. People do not need to work multiple jobs as full-time jobs are added to the economy.


November is Normally Peak Multiple Job Month. We normally see the trough of multiple job workers hit during August as college students return to school. The peak month for multiple job workers is normally either October or November. last year there was a secondary spike during March that may have been related to the 2016 elections. All components of the multiple job market were down from November 2016.  The number of people working two FT jobs, 2 PT jobs and either a FT job and a PT job or a PT job and a FT job dropped.


The trend of multiple job workers was up during the 1990s before it started to to decline into the early 2000s. It picked up through 2007 when the jobs market peaked for number of FT and PT jobs.  The number of multiple job holder bottomed during 2010 as the jobs market hit rock bottom. The "part-time recovery" occurred as part-time jobs were added and full-time jobs were recovered through all of President Obama's time in office. It was not well reported elsewhere that President Obama left office with fewer full-time jobs than were present during the Summer of 2007 as he was running for office. The elevated levels of multiple job holders brought down the participation rate as fewer people were working more jobs. The participation rate was also reduced under President Obama as more workers were competing for fewer jobs, at the outset of his Presidency, and there were fewer jobs added than workers.


Next week we will start receiving the December data. The December Employment Situation Report should be strong, especially for the Trade, Transportation, and Utility sector as well as the Leisure and Hospitality Sector and the Food and Beverage Sectors, Stores and Establishments. Retail should surge. New Home Construction should surge for completions, in hopes of end of the year sales, and starts, as builders look forward to a strong Summer. This could then spur future sales in the electronic and appliance retail sector. Will we see a spike in the multiple job holders? Could it have been delayed a month?


Tomorrow is the Week in Review article.  Monday is new Year's Day and will see the publication of the Top Ten of December Article and the Top Ten of 2017 Article. Time permitting, Monday will also see the release of the Monthly Jobs Forecast Article.


It is the fifth day of Christmas. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 Reclaiming Common Sense