More Kansans and Missourians work two jobs than the national average of about 1 in 20 job holders, says a new Labor Department report.
In Kansas, 6.6 percent of job holders held two or more jobs at the same time in 2014, down from 7.5 percent in 2013. The Missouri rate was 5.9 percent, down from 6.5 percent.
The decrease in our region, however, wasn’t the case nationally, where the 4.9 percent rate was the same from 2013 to 2014. Regional rates didn’t change much, either, though they varied greatly, with most above-average states in the North and below-average ones in the South.
South Dakota, at 8.7 percent, led the list, followed by Vermont, 8.5 percent, and Nebraska, 8.4 percent. Florida, at 3.3 percent, was lowest, and five other states also were below 4 percent — Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. (An interactive map with rates for all the states is here.)
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Economists also haven’t found that the rate correlates to a good or bad economy, as the need to hold multiple jobs could signal hard times, but the ability to find them could indicate an improving job market.
One practice that makes holding two jobs difficult, so-called on-call scheduling, is getting more attention from regulators, lawmakers and researchers, and a few companies are dropping the practice. But whether that will really affect overall two-job rates seems doubtful.
The Census Bureau started collecting the data in 1994. The rate rose briefly then, to a peak of 6.2 percent in 1996, but then dropped for a few years and has been relatively steady recently.
Arkansas’ rate has decreased the most since the 1996 peak, down 3.5 percentage points, and Missouri had the fifth-largest drop at 3.1 percentage points.
Greg Hack also can be reached at 816-234-4439.