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The 14 Hardest-Working States in America

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The American labor force was among the hardest working in the world before the coronavirus pandemic led to mass furloughs and layoffs in March.

In 2019, Americans averaged 1,779 hours on the job — that’s 35.6 hours a week, assuming two weeks of vacation. In comparison, Danish workers put in an average of just 1,380 hours, while Mexican workers averaged 2,137 hours per year.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently set about determining in which states people worked the hardest, based on 2019 data.

Researchers compared the 50 states across two key dimensions — “direct work factors” and “indirect work factors” — and evaluated them using 10 metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing hardest working.

They then calculated each state’s weighted average across all metrics to arrive at an overall score and used the scores to arrive at its ranking.

The metrics for the direct work factors included average workweek hours, employment rate, share of households where no adults work, share of workers leaving vacation time unused, share of engaged workers and the rate of “idle youth” — 16- to 24-year-olds not at work or in school.

Indirect work factors include average commute time, share of workers with multiple jobs, annual volunteer hours per resident and average leisure time spent per day.

These were among the states that ranked highest and lowest on certain key metrics:

  • 35% of Mississippians left vacation time used versus 22% of Ohioans.
  • 8.2% of South Dakota’s workers had multiple jobs vs. 3.6% of New Mexico’s.
  • Alaskan workers put in 42 hours a week, while Utahans knocked off after 37.
  • New Yorkers spent an average 33 minutes getting to work, South Dakotans 17.

See the gallery for WalletHub’s ranking of the 14 hardest-working states.

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