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March 1997, Vol. 120, No. 3
According to the 1995 Current Population Survey (CPS), 7.9 million persons,1 or 6.3 percent of all employed workers, held more than one job. Why do people work at more than one job? The motive that first comes to mind for most people is financial necessitythat they need the earnings from more than one job to meet basic living expenses. Past CPS supplements to the May questionnaires asked multiple jobholders about their reasons for working multiple jobs. While their responses included: paying off debts, meeting current expenses, saving for the future, getting experience, building up a business, or other reasons, the surveys showed that they cited financial reasons2 for working more than one job 37 percent of the time in 1979 and 44 percent of the time in 1989.3 Questions concerning motivation for additional work were not asked as part of the 1995 CPS, but examination of the data reveals that nonfinancial motivators may be at least as strong as financial motivators when it comes to reasons for working more than one job.
This article examines the educational attainment, earnings, occupations, and industries of employment of persons who held more than one job in 1995. For that year, the multiple jobholding rate was consistent with long term trends.4 Those trends, as well as trends in multiple jobholding by age, sex, race, marital status, and class of worker are explored in an article by John F. Stinson elsewhere in this issue.
Multiple jobholders are significant to the analysis of the labor market because they add several million jobs to the economy. Moreover, analysis of multiple jobholders by educational attainment and earnings has produced some interesting results. The percentage of workers holding multiple jobs increased with education and remained stable over earnings classes. While earnings and education are somewhat related, one would expect that as the earnings received from the primary job increased, the motivation to work an additional job for financial reasons would decrease. Although financial and nonfinancial reasons for multiple jobholding surely exist at all earnings and education levels, there may be a shift in the relative importance of reasons for multiple jobholding from financial to nonfinancial as one ascends the earnings/education ladder.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1997 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 This number does not agree with official data on multiple jobholding published in the January 1995 edition of Employment and Earnings because this analysis was carried out using public use Current Population Survey files and different estimating techniques.
2 These include paying off debts, meeting regular household expenses, and saving for the future.
3 John F. Stinson, "Multiple jobholding up sharply in the 1980s," Monthly Labor Review, July 1990, p. 4.
4 Stinson, "Multiple jobholding," p. 5; and Edward S. Sekscenski, "Womens share of moonlighting nearly doubles during 19691979," Monthly Labor Review, May 1980, p. 38.
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