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Commentary By Allison Schrager

Bernie’s Wrong: Americans Now Less Likely to Work 2 or 3 Jobs

Economics Employment

The front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders argues one reason the economy is “broken” is that “Millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.”

But the number of Americans working more than one job has actually been declining over the years and is only about 5%. Most multiple job holders have a full-time job and a part-time job. Only 5% of multiple job holders have two full-time jobs. Women are slightly more likely to be multiple job holders.

job holders, Bernie Sanders

Not only that, there is not much evidence Americans work multiple jobs to survive. A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimates households of all levels of education and income work multiple jobs. In fact, the more education a person has the more likely they are to have a second job. Less than 4% of high school graduates work multiple jobs.

No one knows why 5% of Americans work multiple jobs, it could be to reduce income risk and diversify their skills or it could be to increase income. But the evidence does not support that millions of Americans are working multiple jobs to survive.

Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow her on Twitter here.

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