Hardest Working Americans Live in the Plains States


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for decades, the Plains States of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota have a history of hard-working Americans tending to daylight-to-dusk jobs in farming and mining. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 20 million residents of the region have another distinction: the highest percentage of workers in the nation holding down multiple jobs.

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The BLS reports on average 4.9% of Americans have more than one job, but in the West North Central states that rate is significantly higher, with an average of 7.5% of the population collecting an extra check. South Dakotans lead the nation in the percent of population (8.9%) holding down more than one job. It's a trend that has held for years, with northern states generally having higher rates of multiple-jobholders than southern states.

That above-average work ethic is also found in Vermont (8.8%) and Maine (8.6%). Other states with a higher than average percentage of workers holding two or more jobs include Montana (6.9%), Alaska (6.7%), Wyoming (6.6%), Wisconsin (6.3%), Colorado (6.2%), Oregon (6.2%), Idaho (6.1%) and Maryland (6.1%).

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The Sunshine State of Florida, best known as a retirement haven, has the lowest multiple-jobholding rate of any state: 3.4%. Georgia (3.5%), Alabama (3.7%) and Texas (3.9%) are also below the national average when it comes to moonlighting.

The number of workers punching more than one time clock has remained relatively stable – near 5% -- since its most recent peak (6.2%) in 1995-96. Of course, many moonlighters (25.6%) are taking on the extra work in order to earn extra money to meet expenses or pay off debt, according to the BLS.

But in data compiled in 2004, the latest information available, 18% of multiple jobholders said they worked the additional job simply for enjoyment. A few -- just 4% -- said they were aiming to build a business or to gain experience in a different field.

More than one-third (38.1%) said they were taking on the additional load to earn extra money, without specifying a particular reason.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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