Americans are Working Less Hours Than Previous Generations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report finding that Americans are working 34 hours a week on average in 2013, down from over 38 hours in 1964. This reflects a general downward trend of total hours worked on average since the mid-1800s. In 1860s America, an employee could expect to work 62 hours a week on average. Generations previous to that saw people working from sun-up to sun-down in order to survive. Yet it feels like work is busier than ever for many. So, why is the average workweek falling?

An increase of part-time jobs is the largest contributor to the loss of average hours. More women are going into the workforce and taking part-time jobs as well as more businesses offering less than full-time hours. People are staying in upper education for longer periods of time and retiring earlier than 67. All of this adds up to less time spent being on the clock. Finally, many jobs have been eliminated due to technology being able to perform certain functions more efficiently. All of this results in the drop in average full-time hours worked, and Americans working less overall.

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