Someone recently said to me that people today don’t work as hard as people from past decades. However, it seems that our workday has remained pretty much unchanged for the last three decades. If anything, people outside the U.S., for example, in Europe, work less than eight hours a day. In the U.S., employees ages 25 to 54 spend an average of 8.7 hours a day in “work-related activities,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This was not the norm in the 18th century, when the Industrial Revolution threw the world for a loop and workers would spend 10 to 16 hours at work. That was normal for them, but not so good for the human body, I’m sure. It wasn’t until labor unions started demanding a shorter workday and adopted the slogan, “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest and eight hours for what you will,” that the workday shrunk to what it is today.
While some people still work long hours, at least technology has helped us become more productive, according to WalletHub’s latest report of the hardest working cities. The report also found that Americans work 50 percent more hours than their counterparts in Europe and asked experts a few questions, such as:
Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?
Are Americans being more productive by working more?
How have worker hours or productivity changed during the recession and recovery?
Are some workers or some industries more prone to working unnecessarily long hours?
What is the ideal number of hours to work per week?
What policies should governments and firms adopt to improve the quality of life of American workers?
To see the answers to these questions, go to WalletHub’s post and read what their experts replied, here.
The report analyzed 116 of the most populated cities in the U.S. using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Corporation for National & Community Service and SleepBetter.org and seven key metrics, listed below with the weight that was given for each metric. WalletHub defined “city” as “city proper, [excluding] surrounding metro areas.” The metrics that have an asterisk are those were available only at the state level:
Average workweek hours: 2
Commute time: 0.5
Labor force participation rate (Civilian population in labor force age 16 to 64 divided by total civilian population age 16 to 64): 1
Workers with multiple jobs (as a percentage of total employment): 0.5*
Volunteer hours per resident: 0.5
Lack of sleep (Average number of days people don’t get enough sleep in a month): 0.5
Leisure time spent on an average day: 0.5*
For the methodology and key metrics, go to WalletHub’s post.
The following, after the interactive map below, are the top 10 cities with the hardest workers.
Click next to see the slideshow.
10. Chesapeake, Virginia
Average workweek hours: 39.3
Labor force participation rate: 75%
9. Denver, Colorado
Average workweek hours: 38.9
Labor force participation rate: 78.5%
8. San Francisco, California
Average workweek hours: 39.6
Labor force participation rate: 79%
(Photo: In this file photo from Nov. 15, 2006, the Golden Gate Bridge is shown in San Francisco. AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Tied for 6. Garland, Texas
Average workweek hours: 39.5
Labor force participation rate: 78.3%