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       Average Workweek in the United States

 

Average weekly hours of production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls, 1947 - 2015 (payroll series) - below

year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
1947
40.3
1967
38.0
1987
34.8
2007
34.4
1948
40.0
1968
37.8
1988
2008
34.3
1949
39.4
1969
37.7
1989
2009
33.9
1950
39.8
1970
37.1
1990
34.3
2010
34.1
1951
39.9
1971
36.9
1991
34.1
2011
34.3
1952
39.9
1972
37.0
1992
34.2
2012
34.4
1953
39.6
1973
36.9
1993
34.3
2013
34.4
1954
39.1
1974
36.5
1994
34.5
2014
34.5
1955
39.6
1975
36.1
1995
34.3
2015
34.5
1956
39.3
1976
36.1
1996
34.3
1957
38.8
1977
36.0
1997
34.5
   
1958
38.5
1978
35.8
1998
34.5
   
1959
39.0
1979
35.7
1999
34.3
   
1960
38.6
1980
35.3
2000
34.3
   
1961
38.6
1981
35.2
2001
34.0
   
1962
38.7
1982
34.8
2002
33.9
   
1963
38.8
1983
35.0
2003
33.7
   
1964
38.7
1984
35.2
2004
33.7
   
1965
38.8
1985
34.9
2005
33.8
   
1966
38.6
1986
34.8
2006
33.9
   

 

Mean hours worked per week by all persons at work, 1947 - 2015 (household series) - below

 

year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
 
1947
43.5
1965
40.5
1983
38.3
2001
-
1948
42.8
1966
40.4
1984
38.8
2002
39.2
1949
42.1
1967
40.4
1985
39.0
2003
39.0
1950
41.7
1968
40.1
1986
39.1
2004
39.0
1951
42.2
1969
39.9
1987
39.0
2005
39.2
1952
42.4
1970
39.1
1988
39.2
2006
39.2
1953
41.9
1971
39.3

1989

2007
39.2
1954
40.9
1972
39.4
1990
2008
38.9
1955
41.6
1973
39.3
1991
2009
37.9
1956
41.5
1974
39.0
1992
2010
38.2
1957
41.0
1975
38.7
1993
2011
38.3
1958
40.6
1976
38.7
1994
2012
38.5
1959
40.5
1977
38.8
1995
39.3
2013
38.6
1960
40.5
1978
39.0
1996
39.3
2014
38.6
1961
40.5
1979
38.9
1997
39.5
2015
38.6
1962
40.5
1980
38.5
1998
39.3
1963
40.4
1981
38.1
1999
39.6
 
1964
40.0
1982
38.0
2000
-
 

Notes: The "payroll series" consists of hours information collected from employers. The "household series" consists of hours information collected from individual workers in Census surveys. Where a worker holds more than one job, the payroll series would report hours from each job separately. The household series would combine the hours from all jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, compiles and reports the information. The workweek decline in the payroll series reflects the increasing proportion of part-time retail workers in the total. It has been calculated that 1.39 of the hours decline between 1964 and 1987 is due to this factor. (Nonfinancial Economics, p. 39) According to the household series, the average workweek of persons who usually worked full time was 42.8 hours in 2007; 42.6 hours in 2008; and 41.9 hours in 2009.

    

Persons at work in all industries in the United States by level of hours worked, selected years 1995 to 2015

 

                       
level of weekly hours no. workers - 1995 percent - 1995   no. workers - 2005 percent - 2005   no. workers - 2010 percent - 2010   no. workers - 2015 percent - 2015
                       
total 16 & over 119,318 100.0%   136,218 100.0%   134,004 100.0%   143,767 100.0%
                       
1-4 hours 1,297 1.1%   1,385 1.0%   1,559 1.2%   1,424 1.0%

5-14 hours

4,943 4.1%   4,990 3.7%   5,488 4.1%   5,219 3.6%
15-29 hours 15,120 12.7%   16,008 11.8%   17,272 12.9%   17,271 12.0%
30-34 hours 9,304 7.8%   9,885 7.3%   10,778 8.0%   12,244 8.5%
total - up to 35 hours 30,664 25.7%   32,268 23.7%   35,097 26.2%   36,158 25.2%
                       
35-39 hours 8,873 7.4%   9,371 6.9%   9,695 7.2%   9,604 6.7%
40 hours 42,228 35.4%   56,179 41.2%   56,478 42.1%   61,999 43.1%
41-48 hours 13,958 11.7%   13,609 10.0%   11,370 8.5%   12,461 8.7%
49-59 hours 13,591 11.4%   14,569 10.7%   12,530 9.4%   14,101 9.8%
60 hours & over 10,094 8.5%   10,222 7.5%   8,834 6.6%   9,444 6.6%
                       
total - 35 hours and over
88,654
74.3%
103,950 76.3%   98,907 73.8%   107,609 74.8%
                       
ave. hours total 39.3 hours     39.3 hours     38.2 hours     38.6 hours  
ave. hours - usually work full time 43.4 hours     43.4 hours     42.2 hours     42.4 hours  

 

Notes: These numbers are posted on line at several sites including www.bls.gov/cps/cps_aa2010.htm. The statistics are compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. See Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey - annual averages (for certain years) - household data - tables from Employment and Earnings. 

   

Estimated Gains in Paid Leisure by Full-time Workers in the United States, 1940 to 1979

 

Additional Hours of Paid Leisure per Year
           
Source
Period
Shorter
Longer
More
Total
Workweek
Vacations
Holidays
Hedges & Taylor
1968 - 1979
25
4
10
39
Moore & Hedges
1960 - 1969
30
15
4
49
Henle
1940 - 1960
75
48
32
155
total
1940 - 1979
130
67
46
243

Notes: These estimates of hours reductions, prepared by economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, appeared in the March 1962, February 1971, and March 1980 issues of Monthly Labor Review. Notice that gains in paid leisure were greater in the early period than since 1960. In 1994, a survey found that 97.0% of large companies offered paid vacations to employees, 91.0% offered paid holidays, and 56.5% offered employee pensions. The same survey found that 86.0% of small companies offered paid vacations, 80.0% offered paid holidays, and only 9.0% had pension plans.

Estimated Reductions in the Workweek in Earlier Periods of U.S. History

Ewan Clague, National Bureau of Economic Research

 

year
estimated workweek
     
Ewan Clague
N.B.E.R.
   
1850
69.8
1860
68.0
1870
65.4
1880
64.0
1890
61.9
53.7
1900
60.2
53.2
1910
55.1
52.1
1920
49.7
49.8
1930
45.9
47.7
1940
44.0
43.9
1950
42.5
41.2
1960
40.8

 

Paul H. Douglas, 1890 to 1926

year
average workweek
real hourly wages
year
average workweek
real hourly wages
   
   
1890
58.4
1910
54.6
$.222
1891
58.2
1911
54.4
$.219
1892
58.2
1912
54.2
$.226
1893
58.2
1913
53.8
$.226
1894
57.8
1914
53.5
$.226
1895
58.1
1915
53.5
$.232
1896
57.9
1916
53.3
$.232
1897
57.7
1917
53.0
$.219
1898
57.6
1918
52.2
$.222
1899
57.5
1919
51.3
$.228
1900
57.3
$.211
1920
50.4
$.236
1901
56.8
$.213
1921
50.3
$.255
1902
56.3
$.215
1922
50.5
$.266
1903
55.9
$.215
1923
50.4
$.283
1904
55.7
$.219
1924
50.0
$.291
1905
55.7
$.224
1925
49.9
$.291
1906
55.3
$.226
1926
49.8
$.295
1907
55.3
$.222
1908
54.9
$.228
1909
54.6
$.230

Notes: Ewan Clague, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, presented testimony before the House Select Subcommittee on Labor on H.R. 355, H.R. 3102, and H.R. 3320. Monthly Labor Review, February 1971, p. 5. Comparison of trends in average workweek and hourly wages from Paul H. Douglas, "Real Wages in the United States, 1890-1926", Houghton Mifflin, 1930.

 

Average Hours Spent per Day in Various Activities, 2005

hours per day, total population
hours per day, persons reporting the activity in time diary
activity
both sexes
men
women
both sexes
men
women
all activities
24.00
24.00
24.00
sleeping
8.63
8.54
8.70
8.63
8.55
8.71
other personal care
0.80
0.68
0.92
0.80
0.67
0.91
eating & drinking
1.24
1.30
1.19
1.28
1.33
1.23
household chores
1.82
1.35
2.27
2.45
2.09
2.70
shopping
0.80
0.63
0.96
1.74
1.57
1.87
caring for others
0.77
0.55
0.97
3.74
3.41
3.94
paid work
3.69
4.44
3.00
8.01
8.45
7.47
school activities
0.45
0.47
0.43
5.22
5.62
4.87
community activities
0.31
0.27
0.35
2.31
2.30
2.33
watching television
2.58
2.80
2.37
3.23
3.47
3.00
other leisure
1.04
1.10
0.98
3.53
3.87
3.12
other
0.35
0.28
0.41
2.10
2.08
2.11

Notes: From Table 12-1, Handbook of U.S. Labor Statistics (Bernan Press), 2007, p. 446 The Bureau of Labor Statistics began surveying individuals on use of their personal time in 2003. The American Time Use Survey covered approximately 13,000 persons in 2005. Participants keep "time diaries" on designated days.

 

Persons at work 1-34 hours in nonagricultural industries by reason for working less than 35 hours, 1995 - 2015

year
2015
2013
2010
2008
2005
2002
1999
1995
total at work 1-34 hours (000)
36,158
33,813
35,097
33,384
32,268
31,174
30,913
30,664
 
Part time for economic reasons
6,371
7,935
8,879
5,875
4,350
4,213
3,357
4,473
 
slack work or business conditions
3,762
5,002
6,174
4,169
2,684
2,788
1,968
2,471
could only find part-time work
2,266
2,600
2,375
1,389
1,341
1,124
1,079
1,702
seasonal work
220
234
207
190
188
165
147
120
job started or ended during week
123
99
118
127
137
135
162
180
 
Part time for non-economic reasons
29787
25,878
26,223
27,509
27,918
26,961
27,556
26,191
 
child-care problems
980
859
800
753
791
777
856
774
other family or personal obligations
4,831
4,603
4,634
5,425
5,558
5,766
5,629
5,585
health or medical limitations
907
824
737
834
806
746
712
774
in school or training
5,991
5,648
5,470
6,057
6,237
6,177
6,463
5,585
retired or Social Security limit on earnings
2,423
2,356
2,184
2,185
2,095
1,911
1,984
1,848
vacation or personal day
3,535
3,306
3,395
3,431
3,431
3,452
3,239
3,303
holiday, legal or religious
2,872
272
854
844
901
597
960
1,005
weather-related curtailment
382
395
656
454
513
514
824
439
all other reasons
7,865
7,615
7,493
7,525
7,588
7,022
6,884
6,551
 
average hours, economic reasons
23.0
22.9
22.5
22.9
23.0
23.0
23.1
22.9
average hours, non-economic reasons
22.1
21.3
21.3
21.4
2.5
21.4
21.5
21.4

Notes: These numbers are posted on line at several sites including www.bls.gov/cps/cps_aa2010.htm. The statistics are compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. See Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey - annual averages (for certain years) - household data - tables from Employment and Earning

 

       Output, Employment, Productivity, and Working Hours in the U.S. Economy

 

Gross National Product, 1947-1977: Input (billions of 1958 dollars)
year
annual hours per worker
private employment (1)
output per man-hour
annual output (2)
conversion factor
GNP in 1958 dollars
1947
2,205
51,564
0.508
57,751
5.37
$309.9
1950
2,140
52,892
0.587
66,429
5.35
$355.3
1952
2,141
53,641
0.632
72,569
5.44
$395.1
1955
2,108
55,256
0.709
82,572
5.30
$438.0
1957
2,062
56,455
0.728
84,747
5.34
$452.5
1960
2,043
57,425
0.782
91,762
5.31
$487.7
1962
2,034
57,812
0.845
99,373
5.33
$529.8
1965
2,035
61,014
0.936
116,194
5.32
$617.8
1967
2,006
62,974
1.000
126,302
5.34
$675.2
1970
1,965
65,792
1.051
135,874
5.31
$722.5
1972
1,936
68,362
1.132
149,819
5.29
$792.5
1975
1,891
70,063
1.140
151,038
5.30
$800.1
1977
1,867
75,356
1.218
171,360
5.29
$907.3
             
  (1) thousands of workers   (2) millions of man-hours  
             

Figure 2-13, A Shorter Workweek in the 1980s by William McGaughey, Thistlerose Publications, 1981, page 61. The numbers in the columns are multiplied to produce GNP. Sources: "Handbook of Labor Statistics 1975", p.187, Table 85 (productivity); p .446, Table 179 (GNP); Tables 1 and 39 (nongovernmental employment). Productivity index is based upon labor force data for the total private economy. Average hours have been calculated from the index, using the 1970 hours as a base. See Monthly Labor Review, Feb. 1971, pp. 5-6. The conversion factor is plugged from the other numbers for each year. The figures for 1975 and 1977 are derived from comparable tables in "Handbook of Labor Statistics 1978"

 

 

Productivity index 1910 to 1975 and 1970 to 2011

 

productivity
productivity
productivity
year
index
year
index
year
index
           
1910
100.0
1970
100.00
1990
138.58
1915
104.9
1971
103.93
1991
140.71
1920
113.3
1972
107.44
1992
146.34
1925
135.5
1973
110.82
1993
147.15
1930
135.6
1974
109.04
1994
148.66
1932
133.0
1975
112.04
1995
149.27
1935
152.3
1976
115.78
1996
153.12
1937
161.4
1977
117.59
1997
155.47
1940
179.0
1978
119.13
1998
160.03
1942
188.8
1979
118.65
1999
165.35
1945
210.7
1980
118.34
2000
170.96
1947
199.7
1981
120.00
2001
175.96
1950
232.5
1982
118.73
2002
183.98
1952
240.1
1983
123.95
2003
190.76
1955
269.9
1984
126.44
2004
195.81
1957
281.2
1985
128.50
2005
199.02
1960
304.6
1986
132.46
2006
200.80
1962
330.0
1987
132.85
2007
203.90
1965
369.4
1988
135.05
2008
205.20
1967
390.0
1989
136.08
2009
210.01
1970
407.6
     
2010
218.44
1972
432.9
     
2011
219.42
1975
436.1
         
 
   

Note: The productivity figures for 1910 to 1947 are based upon estimates of John W. Kendrick, "National Productivity and its long-term projection", in "Studies in Income and Wealth", Vol. 16, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1954. From 1975, the productivity figures are for "private business sector"; prior to 1975, for "total private economy". The statistics for 1970 to 2011 in the right-hand columns are found in Updated charts and data associated with the paper “The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay,” by Susan Fleck, John Glaser, and Shawn Sprague. Gap.update.2012.lpc.tables.htm

 

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