Region’s Workers More Likely to Work Two Jobs

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Workers in the northern Rockies region are more likely to work two jobs, likely due to the nature of rural and seasonal economies, an economist says.

In 2010, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming all had more than 7 percent of their workers holding down two jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The national average was a little under 5 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Scott Rickard, an economist who directs The Center for Applied Economic Research at Montana State University Billings, said that relatively low wages combined with an average cost of living in that state could account for the high number of people working two jobs.

Rickard points out that workers with two jobs may be better insulated from economic downturns because they have one job to fall back on if the other is lost.

Some occupations tend to have more multiple-job holders than others.

Throughout the country, firefighting has the highest percentage of multiple job holders for men. Firefighters are followed by emergency medical technicians and paramedics, secondary school teachers, social workers, and school teachers.

For women, the list is headed by dental hygienists, followed by psychologists, post-secondary teachers, physical therapists and other therapists. Women were more likely to hold two jobs, according to an article in U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Monthly Labor Review.

The reasons cited for working two jobs are fairly predictable: Workers want to make more money, pay off debt, learn about another job, or simply likes the second job. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more people take a second job when the economy expands — rather than when it takes a downturn — and people with higher levels of education are more likely to have multiple jobs.

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