Woman takes multiple roads to success
Ruby Harley rides her Harley Davidson motorcycle on weekends - when she is not working at one of her two jobs. (By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer / May 16, 2013)
In fact, the Inwood, W.Va., woman gained work — holding two jobs at the same time before the recession, three jobs simultaneously during the recession and two jobs now.
Harley, 42, likes the life, working seven days a week or very long five-day weeks for years.
“There’s a saying I was told by my father,” Harley said. “The day you start slowing down is when everything — like, your health can go down — catches up to you. And so, I’m not slowing down.”
Plus, having been divorced twice and raising two children, Ruby has needed the extra income.
Those needs aren’t all for family.
For years, she said, she did drag racing on the side, driving “134 miles an hour in a quarter of a mile in a 1983 Buick Regal in Virginia.” And now, on rare days off, she rides something else, something appropriate, considering her name.
“I have a Harley,” she said.
Harley is what some economic researchers call a multiple job-holder.
For some people who lost employment during the recession or suffered another kind of economic pain, the path back to financial stability has been through finding a full- and a part-time job or, maybe a couple of part-time jobs.
Some others, like Harley, just accept that they need to work at more than one place, regardless of the economy’s condition.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that many Americans were already holding multiple jobs when the recession officially began in December 2007.
BLS surveys showed that during 2007 and in 2008, about 7.6 million older teens and adults — 5.2 percent of those with jobs — were working more than one job at the same time.
Officially, the recession ended in mid-2009.
By 2012, with many people having lost their jobs and a weak recovery having begun, the number of multiple jobholders declined to about 6.9 million people or about 4.9 percent of all workers, BLS data shows.
Slightly more women than men held two or more jobs at once, according to the data. Most such workers — men or women — were married, but more than 65 percent of those who were widowed, divorced or separated and who were working multiple jobs, were women.
During the same period, many Americans have had an increasingly difficult time just finding one job.
The nation’s unemployment rate worsened from 5 percent in December 2007, to 9.9 percent in December 2009. It improved to 7.8 percent in December 2012 and by April 2013, the latest month for which such figures are available, was 7.5 percent.