State ranks 12th for workers with 2 or more jobs
Unemployment is the lowest in the nation, but Hawaii jobs are mostly low-paying
While the Aloha State continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, it also has a higher-than-average rate of individuals holding more than one job.
Hawaii ranks 12th among the states that have the highest percentage of people holding multiple jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday.
In 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, the agency found the percentage of Hawaii residents with more than one job was 8 percent, versus the national average of 5.3 percent. That year Hawaii's unemployment rate was at the bottom of the nation -- 2.8 percent.
MULTIPLE-JOB HOLDING RATES, 2005
STATE RANK - PERCENTAGE
1. North Dakota - 9.9
1. Wyoming - 9.9
3. South Dakota - 9.4
4. Alaska - 9.2
5. Nebraska - 9.1
12. Hawaii - 8.0
U.S. average - 5.3
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Hawaii ranked No. 12 behind Utah, Montana and Vermont last year, with a multiple-job holding rate that climbed from 7.6 percent in 2004.
"It's not surprising," First Hawaiian Bank economics consultant Leroy Laney said of the state's high ranking. "We've always had a pretty high multiple-job holding rate, and it varies over time, especially when the economy heats up. The reason we have a high multiple-job holding rate in general is that we are basically a service economy."
Diversification of Hawaii's economy might help, according to Laney, but the cost of doing business here serves as a deterrent. Tourism, Hawaii's No. 1 industry, is still the main economic driver.
"Most tourism jobs are at the entry level, and at the lower levels don't pay much money," he said. "Those workers are forced to take more than one job to make ends meet."
Laney said even with a more diversified economy, Hawaii could expect to rank consistently among the states with the most multiple-job holders.
North Dakota and Wyoming tied for the No. 1 ranking in 2005, at 9.9 percent, followed by South Dakota at 9.4 percent.
Nevada and West Virginia held the lowest rate of multiple-job holders last year, at 3.8 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.
Bureau of Labor Statistics regional economist Charlotte Yee said agriculture could play a significant role in multiple-job holding in the Mountain and North West Central regions of the nation.
However, Hawaii stands out as the only state in the southern part of the country with a higher rate of multiple-job holding. The states with the highest rates are in the north, where seasonality is likely a factor, Yee said.
The national multiple-job holding rate changed little last year, slipping to 5.3 percent from 5.4 percent in 2004. It peaked at 6.2 percent in 1996.
Alaska experienced the largest increase last year, followed by Iowa, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
California, New York, Texas, Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida all had rates below 5 percent in 2004 and 2005.
Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Jim Campbell authored the study, which extracted data from a monthly Census Bureau survey of about 60,000 households across the United States.
Multiple-job holders counted in the study are those who report that they hold two or more jobs as wage or salary workers, or self-employed workers who also hold a wage or salary job, and unpaid family workers who also hold a wage or salary job.