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The Washington Post reports that while "a tight labor market has pushed wages up across the board," it has not been enough "to keep pace with inflation, which hit a 40-year high in June."

This means that many employees are seeking second jobs in order to cover their normal expenses.

According to the Post, "The percentage of employed people working multiple jobs in the United States has steadily increased since March 2020 from 4 percent in April 2020 to 4.8 percent in June 2022, according to data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, although it has not returned to its pre-pandemic levels. In February 2020, 5.1 percent of workers in the United States held two or more jobs. While people taking on multiple jobs is typically a sign of a healthy job market where workers have more job opportunities available, it is also a sign of increasing financial strain on Americans’ pocketbooks."

Some more context from the Post:

"Wages grew faster last year than they had in decades with the biggest gains for low-wage workers in leisure and hospitality who had newfound leverage to negotiate higher pay, quit their jobs and unionize. Hourly average earnings were up 5.1 percent over the past year, according to government data from June. But for most workers, even in the lowest paid sectors where wages are rising fastest, inflation is now wiping out pay increases. Soaring prices meant overall wages fell by 3.6 percent when adjusted for inflation over the past year, the BLS data showed. The June jobs report showed cooling wage growth after months of strong gains, which is sometimes an indicator of an economy headed toward recession."

KC's View:

There's nothing inherently wrong with working two jobs.  I've done it.  My dad did it.  (When he was just starting out as an elementary school teacher, he would park cars at night at Yonkers Raceway for extra money.  And he would teach ice skating to kids during the winter, plus ran his own summer camp for a lot of years.  It was tough raising seven kids on a teacher's salary … I'm getting sentimental, perhaps because tomorrow would've been his 96th birthday…)

In some ways, the fact that in the neighborhood of five percent of the workers in the US hold two jobs is surprisingly low.  I would've guessed 10-15 percent in normal times, and maybe 20 percent in tougher times.  

The larger issue for businesses, I think, is the emotional toll that the tough times of the moment may be taking on employees.  This has been a tough few years - there's the pandemic, inflation, the cultural and political tumult.  Everybody is feeling stressed.  (If you're not, then you must not be paying attention.)

This is a moment when business leaders can reach out to those employees and show real compassion - some of it monetary, and some of it demonstrating some level of emotional intelligence.  Retailers need to remember that these employees were being described/defined as "essential" not that long ago.  If you meant those words, then it is time to live up the meaning of that word, and actually lead.