Working day and night in North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Jaison Sheppard clocks out from unloading trucks for Frito-Lay at 7 a.m., but he’s not off work. His second job awaits in the parking lot outside. Having put on different work clothes, he’s off to change oil, check spark plugs and fix tires for co-workers and other customers for the rest of the day.

Sheppard wants a good life for his family. But he can’t do it on one job alone. And neither can as many as 35,000 other people in the Piedmont Triad who work more than one job. Piedmont Triad is an area covered by seven counties in the north central part of North Carolina.

The number of people with two or more jobs is growing in North Carolina. Only Oklahoma added more workers with two or more jobs in 2004, according to the most recent estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why are more people punching two clocks? Sometimes it’s about making ends meet, paying down debt, building a business or pursuing a dream. And sometimes it’s just to make extra spending money.

“We do see a lot of people who have a permanent job and they come to us because they need extra income,” said Pam Medlin, the president of Key Resources, one of the Triad’s largest employee placement services.

Many workers in the Piedmont Triad are like Jaison Sheppard, working extra jobs because they have to, not because they want to, local employment experts say.

Since 2000, Piedmont Triad workers with limited education have found it hard to get by after the loss of thousands of textile and apparel jobs.

The era of getting a good-paying job with just a high school diploma is over. Many workers who could support a family on one textile job now find it hard to get by even with multiple jobs in fast food or retail.

“The $15 (an hour) jobs they had with the skill sets they possess are no longer available, so relatively speaking, they’re working two $7 jobs for 15 to 16 hours a day,” said Mark Harris, branch manager of the Guilford County office of Manpower staffing services.

The future for those with limited education will only get bleaker. Through 2014, of the fastest-declining jobs, textile jobs make up the top three, the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina said.

The fastest-growing jobs? Low-wage positions such as in retail sales, cashiers and waiters.

But while working extra hours can help the budget, it can also hurt the body, said industrial psychologist Mike Zickar, an associate professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Some with multiple jobs don’t ever spend time to recover from work. And Americans, in general, are bad at doing that, he said. “It’s like being hung over at work all the time,” Zickar said. “It has long-term effects. If somebody is going nonstop at work, they’re always in a bad mood, they’re agitated, their attention span is low.”

“You can think of the consequences on family life, attention to kids,” Zickar continued. “Part of the success of being a good parent is just spending time with kids.”