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New Survey: A Third of Employees Have Second Jobs. Plus, Employers Stuck in ‘Hotel California’

February Survey of 80,000 Small Businesses Reveals Trends in Hiring, Inflation, Sentiment, & Crime, Plus What They Want to Hear in State of the Union Address 

 

An alarming number of employees are working two or more jobs to survive the current economy. Plus, there’s a dramatic split between red states and blue states when it comes to business relocations, and the Great Resignation continues unabated, according to employers. 


These are among the findings of the newly completed February edition of the Freedom Economy Index (FEI), a survey of over 80,000 small businesses jointly conducted by PublicSquare and RedBalloon.work

 

“Now in our seventh month of surveying America’s small business community, we’re seeing interesting trends emerge,” said PublicSquare CEO Michael Seifert. “This economy has been difficult on employers and employees alike. And, while some of the big corporations may be thriving in this environment, small businesses are feeling the continued weight of inflation and high interest rates.” 

 

“Now we know one reason why there was a big job creation number in the January government jobs report,” added RedBalloon CEO Andrew Crapuchettes. “Wages and spending power are being undercut by inflation, so there’s a lot of people working two or three part-time jobs just to survive. And that’s not showing signs of changing anytime soon.” 

 

Key Findings: 

 

  1. An alarmingly high rate of employees work two or more jobs. Nearly 4 in 10 small business employers said that “30% or more” of their workforce is doubling up with a second or even a third job.  

  2. Job hoppers are still job hopping. 39.7% of employers said there was still a robust job musical-chairs, while 11% say things have settled down. 

  3. Businesses are eager to check out of Hotel California. Only 13% of California small businesses are happy with their location, and 67% are either planning a move, considering a move, or want to move but can’t afford it.  

  4. Crime continues to undercut business. Over 70% say crime has either increased significantly (32.2%) or slightly increased (38.2%).  Another 25.6% say crime has neither increased or decreased. 

  5. Preview of the State of the Union. 46.1% of small business owners say US border security is the most important issue for President Biden to address. 

 

Charts: 

 

Nearly 4 in 10 small business employers said that “30% or more” of their workforce is doubling up with a second or even a third job. And, interestingly, this dynamic was more pronounced among younger companies. 


What Percentage Of Your Employees Have a Second Job?


More than 30% 

37.2% 

21% to 30% 

8.4% 

11% to 20% 

8.8% 

1% to 10% 

13.6% 

None 

32.0% 


There’s a split between employers who have been around less than 10 years, and those whose businesses are 10 years or older, with the older, more established companies having less moonlighting employees. 

What Percentage Of Your Employees Have a Second Job? 

Under 10 Years 

10+ Years in Business 

More than 30% 

47.1% 

27.4% 

21% to 30% 

6.7% 

10.6% 

11% to 20% 

5.8% 

10.3% 

1% to 10% 

10.0% 

16.3% 

None 

30.4% 

35.4% 

We also asked employers if the “Great Resignation” job-hopping trend was still ongoing, or if employee tenure was settling down in this uncertain environment. 39.7% said there was still a robust job musical-chairs, while 11% say things have settled down.

 

We asked employers if they were considering moving their business headquarters to another state, and if so, why? Nationwide, nearly half of all small business employers (47.7%) say they are happy with their current location and have no plans to move.



But when looking just at California, nearly a third of businesses (27.1%) feel they are trapped, wanting to move but unable to afford the costs. Apparently, “they can check out anytime they like, but they can never leave.” Only 13% of California small businesses are happy with their location, and 67% are either planning a move (10%), considering a move (30%) or want to move but can’t afford it. 



We asked small business owners if crime had increased or decreased over the past 12 months. Over 70% say crime has either increased significantly (32.2%) or slightly increased (38.2%). Another 25.6% say crime has neither increased nor decreased. 


When asked how they’ve responded to crime in their area, 1 in 4 say they’ve either closed a location (1.4%) and/or moved (3.6%), or they considered moving (22.4%). Most have sought other solutions.

46.1% of small business owners say US border security is the most important issue for President Biden to address. 13% said government spending and debt, 10.2% said election and government integrity, 2.8% said inflation, and 1.7% said foreign policy/Ukraine/Israel/China. 



February FEI Conclusion: 

 

The small business community has overcome a lifetime of challenges in the past few years. And many feel they’re nearing the end of their rope. But, there’s indications that the economy may be emerging from last year’s economic difficulties, particularly as hiring and economic sentiment show signs of stabilizing. 

 

In the past 3 years, the Biden Administration has prioritized numerous policy areas that have little-to-no relevance to America’s small businesses. With the coming State of the Union Address, now is a good time for the President to refocus his 2024 agenda around a pro-small-business-growth platform. This would be a welcome relief. 

 

In the meantime, the Freedom Economy continues to grow in numbers and reach, and the Freedom Economy Index will be here to shine the light on this powerful and growing segment of the American economy.  

 

Methodology: 


The Freedom Economy Index surveyed a universe of over 80,000 small business owners throughout the United States, fielding the questionnaire from February 6 to 9, 2024, with 840 respondents. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.0% at the 95% confidence level. Download the February report here. 

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