Landing One Job No Longer Sufficient For Many In Idaho

Dec 31, 2012

Personal incomes took a hit in the economic downturn across the nation. But according to the latest figures, no state has lower median earnings than Idaho. Jessica Robinson reports.

James Drennen of Post Falls, Idaho, works three jobs to support his wife and two daughters.
Credit Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A few years ago, James Drennen and his family left Lancaster, Penn., to start a new life in north Idaho.

Drennen: “We figured we could come out here and live on a whole lot less money and my wife could stay home ... But when we got here, we found out the jobs aren't paying as well.”

Even as Idaho’s job market shows signs of recovery, many people are running into the same problem. The number of jobs that pay enough to support a family of four has been declining. That’s according to Bob Fick at the Idaho Department of Labor.

Fick: “People have to have assistance through food stamps or some other program, or they have to put together several jobs and still raise their kids.”

As a result, Idaho now has one of the highest rates of people working multiple jobs. And that includes James Drennen.

Drennen: “It's what I have to do, it's not – and I don't even make ends meet, I just try to get them a little closer together.”

Drennen works as a janitor in the evenings and a security guard in the summers. But his main job is as a workforce consultant at the local employment office.

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