Labor market: Workers are getting two jobs amid inflation, says industry watcher

·2 min read

The U.S. labor market may be signaling that workers are doubling up on gigs to make ends meet, says one industry observer.

“What we actually think is happening is that you’re going back to a time where people had two jobs,” CEO Evan Sohn told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "They'd have double income, two jobs to make ends meet."

Sohn says 40% of recruiters are posting for jobs that don’t require a college degree, in sectors that are still hot, such as hospitality and services. Those industries are some of the ones still adding jobs, as seen in the latest labor data for February.

“You have inflation going up, you have higher cost of everything… and that would lead to two jobs,” he said. “That could actually be what's happening now: people going back to having two jobs. That would make sense if you’re seeing a flat labor participation, increase in unemployment and yet jobs are being created.”

In February the U.S. added 311,000 jobs, while unemployment ticked up to 3.6%. Work force participation, which measures the number of people actively in the labor force as a percentage of the total working age population, was up ever so slightly, to 62.5%. That measure has shown little change since early 2022, and still sits below its pre-pandemic level.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) latest employment report shows multiple job holders increased to 8,041,000 last month, compared to 7,557,000 in February 2022. The segment of the workforce which falls under that category ticked up to 5%, compared to 4.8% last year.

A “Help Wanted” sign hangs in restaurant window in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., January 25, 2023.     REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A “Help Wanted” sign hangs in restaurant window in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S., January 25, 2023. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The total number of people working part time voluntarily was almost 22 million in February. That figure is more than five times the 4.1 million people who work part time but would prefer full-time hours.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has indicated the rate of job openings to employment remains historically high at 1.9 jobs for every person looking for work.

However, the type of work available suggests many of these positions are in lower-paid segments. The biggest sectors in the 10.8 million job openings tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are in the areas of:

  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities

  • Education and Health Services

  • Leisure and Hospitality. has been tracking layoffs and new jobs post changes over a 12 month period. Its data shows IT openings are down 5.7% from a year ago. Transportation and warehousing is 2% lower, yet retail posts are up 4% and healthcare is also up by 1.5%.

Sohn says industry layoffs from December 2022 to February 2023 show IT lost about 24%, while about 22.5% of the losses were in manufacturing.

Ines is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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