Multiple Jobholders Account for 5.2% of All Employed

What are the long-term trends for multiple jobholders in the US? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has two decades of historical data to enlighten us on that topic, courtesy of table A-16 in the monthly Current Population Survey of households.

In May, there were 8.352 million people working multiple jobs in the U.S. Multiple jobholders now account for 5.2% of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories (in pie chart at right) of the multi-job workforce, the relative sizes of which are illustrated in a pie chart. The distinction between "primary" and "secondary" jobs is a subjective one determined by the survey participants.

Not included in the statistics are the approximately 0.05% of the employed who work part-time on what they consider their primary job and full time on their secondary job(s).

Let's review the complete series to help us get a sense of the long-term trends. Here is a look at all the multiple jobholders as a percent of the civilian employed. The dots are the non-seasonally adjusted monthly data points. Multiple jobholders have accounted for 5.0% or more of total employed persons for 9 straight months, the longest streak since the runup to the 2020 pandemic.

However, the monthly data points can be quite volatile so we've added a 12-month moving average to highlight the trend. The moving average peaked in the summer of 1997 and then began trending downward. The moving average hovered slightly below 5% between the last two recessions before dropping to as low as 4.4% in 2021. Since then, it has been trending upwards and is now pushing above pre-pandemic levels. The moving average currently sits at 5.14%, its highest level since February 2020.