Landing One Job No Longer Sufficient For Many In Idaho

By Jessica Robinson

POST FALLS, Idaho - 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.

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

James 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.”

James Drennen of Post Falls, Idaho, works three jobs to support his wife and two daughters. Photo by Jessica RobinsonEven 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.

Bob 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.

James 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.


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

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