Center for Applied Economic Research

Multiple Jobholders

This information on this page is dated. 
The newly released data can be found at:

Montana vs. National

The number of multiple jobholders in Montana is seen by many as another indication of the crisis of employment in Montana. An analysis of multiple jobholders indicate that more working Montanans have more than one job than do workers in almost any other state, but the reason for that seems to be due to factors other than low Montana wages and per capita income.

Table 1 - Percent of Multiple Jobholders

  1998 1997 1996 1995 1994
National 6.0 6.3 6.4 6.3 6.0
Montana 10.6 9.7 10.2 9.2 9.0
MT Rank 2 5 1 7 6

As Table 1 above shows, for every 100 working people, Montana would have three to four more working a second job than in the average state.

A statistical analysis shows that the state's per capita income is not related to the percent of workers holding multiple jobs. The following variables that are related to the percent of workers that are holding multiple jobs are:

  • Population density,
  • Lowest monthly average temperature, and
  • The number of persons per farm.

The relationship between these variables is complex but understandable. When they are all combined, the percent of multiple jobholders is related to the lowest monthly average temperature and the number of persons per farm. In other words, there is a tendency for farm owners and workers to hold more than one job, and there is a tendency for workers living in a colder climate to have more than one job. Population density is a statistical artifact related to the other two.

The relationship between these variables is not linear.

(click graph at right to view larger image) ""

(click graph at right to view larger image) ""

As can be seen in these figures, two things seem to be happing. In warmer states, the percent of multiple jobholders is below average. In colder states, the percentage is higher even in urban areas.

There are also demographic differences.

Age: Workers between 20 and 54 are most likely to work two or more jobs, more so than teenagers and workers over 54.

Marital Status: Widowed, divorced, or separated workers are 9.8% more likely to hold multiple jobs than are singles, and 15.5% more likely than married workers.

Racial and ethnic: Whites are 12.7% more likely to have multiple jobs than are African-Americans, and 63.2% more likely than Hispanics.

Considering these combined factors, the top and lowest ten states are easier to predict.

Multiple Jobholders 1998 by States

Top 10 States Bottom 10 States

1. North Dakota

2. Montana

3. Minnesota

4. Kansas

5. Nebraska

6. South Dakota

7. Wyoming

8. Alaska

9.3 Hawaii

9.3 Vermont

9.3 Wisconsin

9.3 Nevada

1. Louisiana

1.5 Texas

1.5 New York

3. Mississippi

4. North Carolina

5.5 Georgia

5.5 Arkansas

6. Connecticut

7.5 New Jersey

7.5 California

9.3 West Virginia

9.3 Florida

Summary: Most of the differences between states in the percent of multiple jobholders can be accounted for by climate and the proportion of the population who are farmers or ranchers. These two variables account for 58.5% of the total variation between states. If ethnic background is entered, the three variables account for 71.3% of the total variance.

Montana has a colder climate, a higher proportion of framers and ranchers, and a smaller minority population than do many other states. While the absolute number of multiple jobholders in Montana is not high, the above factors seem to be more important to Montana's relatively high percentage of multiple jobholders than does the low per capita income and wages.

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