‘I’m selling my blood’: Millions in US can’t make ends meet with two jobs – The Guardian USA | CarTailz

Millions of Americans are currently working two or more jobs to make ends meet as global inflation and rising business prices have pushed up the prices of food, gas, housing, health insurance and other necessities over the past year.

Cashe Lewis, 31, of Denver, Colo., has two jobs and is currently trying to find a third job to help cover the recent $200 monthly rent increase on her apartment. She works days as a barista at Starbucks but claims it has been difficult to get enough hours, even if she takes extra shifts whenever she can, as hours have been cut as part of management’s crackdown on unionisation.

She works nights in a supermarket because the hours are reliable, working six days a week, often 16 hours a day.

“I’m exhausted all the time,” Lewis said. “On the one day I have a week off, I donate plasma for extra money. I’m literally selling my blood to eat because I have no choice.”

Your partner suffers from epilepsy and is therefore unable to work full-time. Even with insurance, her medication is expensive, and she spends about half of a two-week Starbucks paycheck to cover health insurance premiums.

She has struggled with homelessness for the past five years and was previously fired from her job for sleeping in her car behind her workplace.

“All my friends and family also work multiple jobs just trying to make ends meet. Nothing is affordable and the roadblocks put in place to keep people in the cycle of poverty benefit the wealthiest members of our society,” added Lewis. “We are not alive, we are barely surviving and we have no choice but to move on.”

According to US Census data, more Americans have held two or more jobs in recent decades, with women more likely than men to have multiple jobs, and multiple jobs being the most common among low-wage workers.

Laura Richwine, of Omaha, Nebraska, has two jobs, one in fraud prevention and the other in administration, and previously had three jobs to keep up with the hefty medical bills she’s been dealing with since she was hit by a car in 2014 became.

“It’s rough and I don’t have much energy to keep up with a lot of other things,” Richwine said. “I have a bachelor’s degree and have been working for over 10 years, but up until this year I’ve never had a job that paid more than $15 an hour. Many places around me still only offer minimum wage in Nebraska, which is $9 an hour. You can hardly buy groceries with that amount.”

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 400,000 Americans have two full-time jobs. As of September 2022, 4.9% of all more than 164 million US workers had two jobs or more, over 7.7 million workers.

Although U.S. Census data estimates these rates and numbers much higher, in the last year data is available, 2018, they were 7.8%, about 13 million workers, while BLS data at the time estimated that 5.0% of workers had multiple jobs.

Both sets of data are considered to underestimate the number of concurrent workers in the US labor market due to limitations on what is defined as concurrent workers and the lack of data on the self-employed, such as B. Gig workers.

An annual survey sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board estimated an even higher number of workers in multiple jobs, at 16.4% in 2019, about 26.5 million workers.

Many of these multi-job workers do so to make ends meet, often working more than 40 hours a week.

Robert Weaver of Lawrence, Kansas currently works two jobs as a theater technician and delivery driver, 30 to 35 hours a week at his day job and about 20 at his part time job.

He explained that he had two jobs because he couldn’t find a single full-time position in his field that matched his college degree. Most of his disposable income goes toward paying off credit cards, taxes, surprise bills like car repairs, and medical expenses.

“There isn’t enough money to be able to afford a house or even rent from just one job,” Weaver said. “Everyone has debts and it looks like we’re never going to pay them back.”

Liora Engel, 37, of Vermont, took on two other jobs, at a deli and another at a convenience store, in addition to her full-time job in the media industry earlier this year to try to supplement her income while covering expenses through a divorce.

After working 70-hour weeks, she left her full-time job due to burnout, but still works two jobs while trying to find a part-time job and restricting her working hours to no more than 50 hours a week.

“It’s like, how much of your soul are you willing to sell to be financially independent or to make sure you can pay your bills?” Engel said.

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