How Much Time Do Employed Workers Spend Working?

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Last week, I told you what laid-off workers are doing with their free time. So what about employed workers? How are they spending their time at work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the 2008 results from its annual American Time Use Survey. The ATUS focuses on the average amount of time per day in 2008 that individuals worked, did household activities, cared for household children, participated in educational activities, and engaged in leisure and sports activities.

Here’s what it looked like for employed persons in 2008, according to the survey:

  • Employed persons worked an average of 7.6 hours on the days that they worked. They worked longer on weekdays than on weekend days—7.9 versus 5.6 hours.
  • On the days that they worked, employed men worked about 0.9 hour (52 minutes) more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men still worked 8.3 hours versus women working 7.7 hours.
  • Many more people worked on weekdays than on weekend days; that is, they spent some time doing tasks required for a job, regardless of whether it was part of their usual work schedule or arrangement. Eighty-three percent of employed persons worked on an average weekday compared with 34 percent on an average weekend day.
  • On the days that they worked, 21 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home, and 86 percent did some or all of their work at their workplace. Men and women were about equally likely to do some or all of their work at home.
  • Multiple jobholders were almost twice as likely to work on an average weekend day as were single jobholders—59 versus 31 percent. Multiple jobholders also were much more likely to work at home than were single jobholders—36 versus 19 percent.
  • Self-employed workers were more likely than wage and salary workers to have done some work at home—55 versus 17 percent.
  • On the days that they worked, 35 percent of employed people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher did some work at home compared with only 9 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

I thought these results were pretty interesting. I compared the numbers in 2007, and they are all only a few percentage points off of this year’s numbers. Given our current state of economy, we know that employed persons are working longer hours during the workweek and on weekends due to their increased workloads — these numbers, however, don’t really show that. I’ll be anxious to see how the 2009 numbers stack up…

What are your thoughts?

One Comment
  1. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Are you overworked?

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