Multiple Jobholders: Over Two Decades Of Trends As Of November

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.

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At present, multiple jobholders account for just 5.1 percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current 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.

Note: Not included in the statistics are the approximately 0.22% 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, which are quite volatile, and a 12-month moving average to highlight the trend. The moving average peaked in the summer of 1997 and then began trending downward. It is now at 5.0%, and the latest monthly data point is 5.1%.

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The next chart focuses on all four subcategories referenced in the pie chart. The trend outlier is the series illustrated with the red line: Multiple Part-Time Jobholders. Its trough was in 2002 and has been trending higher in early 2007, long before Obamacare. At about the same time we also see a steepening decline in the trend for the employed whose hours vary between full- and part-time for either their primary or secondary job.

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Here is a closer look at the two cohorts that have changed the most since the mid-2000s. We've rescaled the vertical axis to give us a clearer view of the trends.

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