Working multiple jobs in a lousy economy

Filed in Uncategorized by on April 27, 2009 0 Comments

Working a couple part-time jobs is a rite of passage for many young adults. I juggled a few right after college until one — a tiny newspaper — offered me a full-time gig.

That’s a lot different, though, than moonlighting in your 30s, 40s or 50s in a lousy economy.

We’ve heard from a couple dozen people the past few months in our Public Insight Network who’ve told us they’re working multiple jobs in this economy. For some, it’s needed extra cash. For others, the second job money is paying down debt.

Missi Lang of Eagan is in her early 30s and was working two jobs before recently taking time off to have a baby. She told us in February:

One job is as a server at a restaurant – there I am pretty secure in my employment, but the money I make each shift seems to have decreased. My other job is working in Adult Basic Education. That job also seems fairly secure, just due to the fact that when so many people are getting laid off, it would be counter intuitive for the state to cut programs that could potentially help those in need.

I guess I’m just hoping everything will be normal when I go back to work. We are really unable to save much because it seems like we’re always behind, so we will just keep doing the same things. I guess when I grocery shop, I have been going for just the essential items, skipping the pre-made meals and a few other extras.

Two weeks ago, Paula Swenson of Bemidji wrote in and called her job security “shaky.”

She’s working three jobs in her late 50s — “Artist, good prospects but low income, sub teacher, erratic, Census employee, temporary.” She’s trying to pay off her credit cards. Asked about the last time she had a raise, she replied, “What’s that?”

Moonlighting has always been a bit of a phenomenon here. Minnesota and the Northern Plains states have among the highest multiple job holding rates in the country, with Minnesota the top moonlighting state in 1994, according to the state’s labor department. Officials say about 8 percent of employed Minnesotans held more than one job in 2004 and about 5.4 percent in the U.S.

I couldn’t find any data more recent than 2004. If anyone has any please post below.

Below, we’ve mapped some other recent voices on jobs from our Public Insight Network. Take a look, then add your story.

Most surprising multiple job holder? Paul Kolisch of Burnsville is in his 60s working multiple jobs but called is job outlook “very secure.” Why?

He trains pilots for Mesaba Airlines, job he says that is a beneficiary of Delta Airlines’ takeover of Northwest Airlines and “must continue unless the airline shuts down.”

Plus, his other job seems like it has a lot of staying power: He’s a priest in the Anglican Church and, he notes, “I see more people joining our congregation.”

About the Author ()

I'm a news junkie with particular interests in the economy and education. I covered those topics for 20 years as a reporter in Connecticut, Washington, DC, South Carolina and Minnesota. I'm at Minnesota Public Radio News now, hoping to find new w

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