More than eight million people -- roughly 5 percent of all workers -- held more than one job at a time in July, according to the most recent federal data. The economy has been growing for more than a decade, but their lives offer a reminder that not all Americans are thriving.

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Like Ms. Hughes, most people with multiple jobs worked a full-time job that just didn't pay enough. Most workers find second jobs in the same industry, but a growing number have taken on "gig" work like driving for Uber.

Daniel Asnake, 49, sleeps in his car after his morning shift as a baggage handler at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C. Then he uses the car to earn as much as $145 a shift as an Uber driver well into the evening. Most days, he leaves home before his two children rise and returns after they have gone to sleep.

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