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       Average Workweek in the United States

 

Average weekly hours of production or nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls, 1947 - 2005 (payroll series) - below

year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
1947
40.3
1967
38.0
1987
34.8
1948
40.0
1968
37.8
1988
1949
39.4
1969
37.7
1989
1950
39.8
1970
37.1
1990
34.3
1951
39.9
1971
36.9
1991
34.1
1952
39.9
1972
37.0
1992
34.2
1953
39.6
1973
36.9
1993
34.3
1954
39.1
1974
36.5
1994
34.5
1955
39.6
1975
36.1
1995
34.3
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 - 1987 (household series) - below

 

year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
year
ave. weekly hours
           
1947
43.5
1965
40.5
1983
38.3
1948
42.8
1966
40.4
1984
38.8
1949
42.1
1967
40.4
1985
39.0
1950
41.7
1968
40.1
1986
39.1
1951
42.2
1969
39.9
1987
39.0
1952
42.4
1970
39.1
1988
39.2
1953
41.9
1971
39.3
   
1954
40.9
1972
39.4
   
1955
41.6
1973
39.3
   
1956
41.5
1974
39.0
   
1957
41.0
1975
38.7
   
1958
40.6
1976
38.7
   
1959
40.5
1977
38.8
 
1960
40.5
1978
39.0
2006
39.2
1961
40.5
1979
38.9
2007
39.2
1962
40.5
1980
38.5
2008
38.9
1963
40.4
1981
38.1
2009
37.9
1964
40.0
1982
38.0
2010
38.1

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.

    

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.

       

 

 

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