Moonlighting—simultaneously holding multiple jobs—is fascinating from a macro labor economics perspective: It adds jobs to the economy without increasing the actual level of employment. Fortunately, FRED provides data to help us understand how prevalent this group of workers is in the US economy.
The blue line in the FRED graph above plots the fraction of employed individuals simultaneously holding more than one job for each month. It shows that moonlighters make up a sizable fraction of the employed. From 1995 to the present, about 5-6% of employed persons have held multiple jobs in any given month. The proportion of moonlighters tends to drop at the onset of recessions and recovers afterward, with the starkest decrease occurring during the COVID-19 recession.
How common is moonlighting among men vs. women? The proportion of employed women who hold multiple jobs (green line) is now noticeably higher than the proportion of employed men who do (red line). This divergence became particularly clear after the 2001 recession, with differences of up to 1 percentage point. Since the COVID-19 recession, the proportion of women holding multiple jobs has exceeded its pre-pandemic level, while the proportion of men holding multiple jobs is similar to its pre-pandemic level.
How this graph was created: In FRED, search for “Multiple Job Holders as a Percent of Employed.” Click on “1 other format” (below the first search result) and choose “Monthly, Percent, Not Seasonally Adjusted” to be consistent with percentages by gender. From this graph, use the “Edit Graph” panel in the top right corner to select the “Add Line” tab. Search for and select the unemployment rate for men, i.e., “Multiple Job Holders as a Percent of Employed, Men.” Repeat for women.