More Americans are holding two full-time jobs than ever just to be able to pay the bills, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The definition of a full-time role, according to the BLS, is more than 35 hours a week at one job. And the data indicates that more than 426,000 Americans have been working more than 70 hours a week, the equivalent of two full-time jobs, in June 2022. Despite rising wages and secure paychecks, inflation has still made gas and groceries entirely unaffordable for many workers. Inflation has reached a 40-year high, with the Consumer Price Index reporting that grocery inflation has been at an all-time high since 1979. Prices for food at home have risen 11.9% in May year-over-year (YOY).
Albert Elliot, a warehouse worker for Amazon, told the Washington Post that he recently started a second job as a janitor at a community college to help afford gas for him and his family. Elliot says he wasn't making enough at Amazon to pay for gas and was forced to borrow from family and friends to fill up his tank for the trip to work. And as many blue-collar workers have manual jobs requiring in-person labor, gas is a necessity.
"I put $25 in my tank on Monday. That didn't last long. This morning, I had to put another $15 bucks in my tank," Elliott told the Washington Post. "That got me to work today. I probably have to put in another $20 to make it home tomorrow. When I leave, I have to go to my part-time cleaning job."
Elliot isn't alone, and his story echoes many other American experiences. People used to take multiple jobs to make more spending money, says Nick Bunker, Director of Economic Research at Indeed's Hiring Lab. Now, with inflation staying high, people are taking second jobs because they absolutely have to.