Work, and then work some more

North Dakota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2005  | November 2005 issue

For the second year in a row, the state of North Dakota earned the simultaneously honorable and dubious award of having the highest rate of multiple-job workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At about 10 percent in 2004, the state's rate for multiple-job holders is almost twice the national average of 5.4 percent.

For some, particularly those in farm states, it's a badge of honor to work long hours. But that's largely an economic euphemism. Richard Rathge, director of the State Data Center, said there are several reasons for the high rate, including a high percentage of farm and other seasonal employment, low average wages and limited benefits in many jobs, according to an Associated Press report.

But there's also likely a regional and possibly cultural effect at play, because every neighboring state has a multiple-job rate of at least 8 percent, and Minnesota, for one, fares well in state rankings on employment, earnings and benefits.

Ronald A. Wirtz