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March 1997, Vol. 120, No. 3
John F. Stinson, Jr.
How many people in the United States hold more than one job? Are their numbers growing or shrinking? What kind of work are they doing on their second job? Also, what implications do changes in the number of multiple jobholders have on measuring employment growth? The answers to these questions and more are now provided on a regular basis, from data collected since 1994 in the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of 50,000 households.
When a major redesign of the CPS was introduced in January 1994, its primary aim was to improve the quality of the data derived from the survey by introducing a new questionnaire and modernized data collection methods.1 A major secondary intent of the redesign was to provide additional data series, one of which is regular monthly estimates of the number of multiple jobholders. Previously, these data had been collected only through special periodic supplements to the CPS in May of various years.2
This article first looks at how the data on multiple jobholders now are obtained from CPS questions and how such workers are defined. It then provides some historical perspective on moonlighting by examining trends from the data collected in the May supplements. Next, it examines the work schedules and the demographic, industrial, and occupational characteristics of moonlighters from the new CPS data. Finally, it examines the data to see what effect changes in the number of multiple jobholders have on measuring employment growth.
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1 For a complete description of the changes in the CPS, see Sharon R. Cohany, Anne E. Polivka, and Jennifer M. Rothgeb, "Revisions in the Current Population Survey Effective January 1994," Employment and Earnings, February 1994, pp. 1337.
2 Prior to 1980, data on multiple jobholding were collected annually each May. After 1980, the data were collected in May of 1985, 1989, and 1991. For an analysis of recent data on multiple jobholding collected in the May CPS supplements, see "Multiple jobholding unchanged in May 1991," Bureau of Labor Statistics News, usdl 91-547 (U.S. Department of Labor), Oct. 28,1991; and John F. Stinson, Jr., "Multiple jobholding up sharply in the 1980s," Monthly Labor Review, July 1990, pp. 310
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