States Where the Most People Work Two Jobs

January 17, 2014 by Mike Sauter

The vast majority of working Americans spend their time at one job, but that isn’t the case for everyone. In 2012, roughly 5% of the U.S. working population held more than one job at the same time.

People moonlight for all kinds of reasons. In some cases, it is because they can’t find good full-time employment. In others, it is because there is an abundance of jobs. In some parts of the country, particularly the Plains states, the multiple jobholding rates are much higher. In South Dakota, 9.5% of workers had more than one job in 2012, nearly twice the national rate. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 states with the highest multiple jobholding rates in the U.S.

Click here to see the states where the most people work multiple jobs

Nearly all of the states with relatively high rates of workers holding more than one position also have low unemployment rates. While the average national unemployment rate was 8.1% in 2012, it was 6% or less in all but one of the 10 states with the highest multiple jobholding rates. The three states with the highest proportion of workers with two or more jobs — Vermont, South Dakota, and Nebraska — had the fourth, third, and second-lowest unemployment rates that year.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) economist Susan Campolongo, the relationship between multiple jobholders and unemployment “intuitively makes sense, in that it should be easier to find a second job in a state with fewer unemployed people.” This is not true in all cases, she added.

According to BLS chief regional economist Martin Kohli, women are more likely to hold multiple jobs than men. This may be a contributing factor to the high multiple jobholding rates in some of the 10 states. The labor force participation rate among women in South Dakota, Vermont, and Nebraska was much higher than the national rate of 57.2%. In 2012, Nebraska had a female labor participation rates of 67.7%. Kohli also pointed out that Florida, which had the lowest multiple jobholder rate, had a relatively low female labor force participation rate.

While it may be counterintuitive, residents with higher levels of education are more likely to have multiple jobs than those without. All 10 of the states with the highest rate of multiple jobholders had higher proportions of adults with at least a high school diploma than the U.S. average.

Another factor that may make multiple jobholding rates higher is is the presence of the agriculture sector, due to its seasonal nature. Farm workers often hold another job during the off-season. As of 2012, 8.6% of South Dakotans were employed in agriculture, more than any other state. Nowhere else in the U.S. were workers more likely to hold multiple jobs. Similarly, Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota were all among the top states for both agricultural employment and multiple jobs.

Wages may also play a role in a worker’s decision to take another job. Arguably, workers are more likely to take an additional job if they are not paid well. None of the states with the highest multiple jobhlding rates had average weekly wages at or above the national wage in 2012. In fact, average wages in several of these states, including South Dakota, Montana, and Maine, were among the lowest in the nation.

Based on figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 states with the most multiple jobholders as a percent of total employment. A multiple jobholder is someone who, in the week they were surveyed, worked two jobs. Additionally, we also reviewed figures published by several other groups at the BLS, as well as data from the Census Bureau. Data are from 2012 unless otherwise noted.

These are the states where the most people work two jobs.

10. Wyoming
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 7.0%
> Unemployment rate: 5.4% (7th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $857 (22nd highest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 91.7% (tied-5th highest)

Wyoming is one of the top states for agricultural employment, with workers accounting for over 4.1% of the total state workforce in 2012. Such workers, may be more likely to take on second jobs due to the seasonal nature of their work. Another possible reason the state had so many moonlighting workers was the availability of jobs. In 2012, the state had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. In addition, only 10% of people working or who wanted to work were underemployed — or unable to find the amount of work they wanted.

9. Iowa
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 7.3%
> Unemployment rate: 5.2% (5th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $776 (10th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 91.6% (tied-8th highest)

Iowans were among the least likely in the nation to be underemployed in 2012, Iowans were among the least likely in the nation to be underemployed in 2012, with just 10% of workers, or those who wanted to work, unemployed. The national underemployment rate, on the other hand, was nearly 15% in 2012. The state’s average unemployment rate of 5.2% that year was also considerably lower than the national rate. This may mean more jobs were available in Iowa, even for workers who wanted a second job. Some state officials, however, do not regard a high multiple-job holding rate as a good sign. Iowa Senator Jack Hatch has recently called for raising the minimum wage in order to expand the middle class. Hatch explained the state’s middle class is not as large as it seems because many low-wage workers only reach that status by working 60-80 hours a week at multiple jobs.

ALSO READ: North Dakota Unemployment Rate Drops to 2.6%

8. Montana
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 7.5%
> Unemployment rate: 6.0% (14th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $713 (4th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 92.8% (the highest)

Montana’s multiple-job holding rate was slightly more than 6% in 2011. The following year, that rate had increased to 7.5%. Nationally, women are more likely than men to work multiple jobs. Women represented a greater proportion of Montana’s workforce than they did nationwide — about 47% compared with 44.2% nationally. This may partly explain the high rate of multiple job holders in the state. Montana’s average weekly wage of $713 in 2012 was substantially lower than that of the nation as a whole, and lower than all but three other states.

7. North Dakota
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.0%
> Unemployment rate: 3.1% (the lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $883 (20th highest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 91.7% (tied-5th highest)

North Dakota has jobs in abundance. The state’s average unemployment rate was a national-low 3.1% in 2012. Additionally, the state’s underemployment rate was just 6.1% that year, the lowest in the U.S. and an indication that people who wanted to work were largely able to find opportunities. Wages were also soaring in North Dakota, where the average weekly wage rose from $803 in 2011 to $883 in 2012. However, despite this growth, workers continue to hold multiple jobs. As of 2012, 8% of the state’s employed workers held two jobs.

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6. Minnesota
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.1% (tied-5th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 5.6% (9th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $949 (14th highest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 92.5% (2nd highest)

The proportion of workers with multiple jobs in Minnesota was higher than in all but five other states as of 2012. The average weekly wage in Minnesota was $949 in 2012, considerably higher than other states with high multiple-job holding rates, in line with the national weekly wage. According to a Minnesota Public Radio report published in 2011, increases in the state’s multiple-job holding rate might actually be a good sign, indicating that residents have opportunities to grow their income. Minnesota Public Radio also pointed out that it is not unusual for farm states like Minnesota to have a high proportion of its workforce holding multiple jobs because many farmers get additional jobs during the winter.

5. Maine
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.1% (tied-5th highest)
> Unemployment rate: 7.3% (22nd highest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $742 (6th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 91.6% (tied-8th highest)

Compared with most other states with high proportions of workers holding two or more jobs, Maine’s underemployment rate was high, at 15%, roughly the same as the national rate. The state’s unemployment rate was 7.3% in 2012, lower than the national rate but considerably higher than most states where moonlighting was common. The number of residents working additional jobs to make ends meet increased in Maine more than in any other state during the recession.

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4. Kansas
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.2%
> Unemployment rate: 5.7% (10th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $791 (14th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 90.2% (17th highest)

As of 2012, 8.2% of Kansan workers had at least two jobs. The state’s relatively high rate of farm jobs may have contributed to this high figure. In 2012, 3.7% of the state’s labor force worked in agriculture, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Additionally, the state’s low wages — the average weekly wage in Kansas was $791 in 2012, versus $948 nationally — and young workforce may have contributed to more employees working additional jobs. Although Kansas had an unemployment rate of just 5.7%, many jobs in high demand in the state were not especially high paying.

3. Nebraska
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.5%
> Unemployment rate: 3.9% (2nd lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $755 (7th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 90.5% (tied-13th highest)

Like many of the states with high proportions of multiple jobholders, Nebraska’s unemployment rate was extremely low. In 2012, it was 3.9% — the second lowest unemployment rate in the country. Only 8.8% of people working, or who wanted to work, were underemployed — meaning they were unable to find the amount of work they wanted. On a national level, women were more likely to hold multiple jobs. The fact that Nebraska had one of the highest proportions of female workers in the country may be a factor as well.

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2. Vermont
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 8.6%
> Unemployment rate: 5.0% (4th lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $788 (13th lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 91.7% (tied-5th highest)

Vermont’s unemployment rate was just 5% in 2012, one of the lowest in the nation. Despite this, 29% of workers employed in the state worked less than 35 hours per week, more than in all but eight other states. Wages in Vermont were not especially high either, averaging just $788 per week, among the bottom third of all states. Although Vermont had a relatively well-educated population and relatively few lived below the poverty line, its cost of living was among the most expensive in the nation.

1. South Dakota
> Pct. workers with multiple jobs: 9.5%t
> Unemployment rate: 4.4% (3rd lowest)
> Avg. weekly wage: $703 (3rd lowest)
> Pct. with a high school diploma: 90.5% (tied-13th highest)

Just 8.5% of South Dakotans who worked or who wanted to work were underemployed as of 2012, lower than nearly every state in the nation in 2012. The state’s unemployment rate was just 4.4% that year as well, third-best in the country. The availability of jobs in the state may partly explain the high rate of South Dakota workers with two or more jobs. Also, the state’s high percentage of farm workers — who typically find additional employment during the off-season — may also be a factor. In 2012, 8.6% of South Dakota workers were employed in agriculture, the most in the nation.