Who works the most?

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Time is a relative concept. Don’t worry, we’re not talking in an Einstein, speed-of-light kind of way. We mean in a practical, “time flies when you’re having fun” kind of way.

Most of us feel like times when we’re enjoying ourselves go by quicker, while times when we’re unhappy, bored or stressed seem to drag on forever. This is why sometimes, when you’re at work, you can feel like you’ve had the longest day of your life before you even take a lunch break.

Because everybody feels like they put in long hours on the job, we wanted to figure out which workers actually do work the longest hours. So, we dug up some statistics on who puts in the most time at work, below.

The industries that work the most

You’ll probably be surprised to know that, at 44.2 hours per week, workers in mining and logging put in the most hours on the job, according to July 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in mining and logging were followed by workers in:

  • Professional and business services
  • Private service-providing




Since the weekly averages above encompass broad industries, though, employees in the jobs and subsectors within each industry may be required to put in far more time.

Doctors, for example, fall under the “education and health services” umbrella, but most work more than the industry average of 32.9 hours per week. According to BLS data, in 2008, 43 percent of physicians and surgeons worked 50 or more hours each week.

Similarly, those who work in investment banking, a subsector of the “financial activities” industry, also typically put in longer hours than the weekly average suggests.

According to Finbox.com, an online community for professionals in financial services, employees at large investment banks work closer to 60 hours per week. For example, employees at Piper Jaffray, the bank with the longest hours, work an average of 59.9 hours per week; while at both Credit Suisse and Macquarie, the two banks with the second-longest hours, workers averaged 57.8 hours per week.

The states that work the most

According to a 2010 report from the U.S. Labor Department, residents of Nevada put in the most time at work, averaging 37 hours per week. Rounding out the top-10 states with the longest workweeks were:

  • Wyoming                             36.7
  • Louisiana                             36.5
  • Texas                                    36.3
  • Kentucky                             36.2
  • Alabama                              36.0
  • District of Columbia         35.8
  • Mississippi                          35.6
  • South Carolina                   35.6
  • Oklahoma                           35.5

 Does this seem accurate to you? How many hours per week do you usually work? Let us know in the comments section, below.

  1. Mm… I average 45 hours per week. Prior to that, I averaged 40 even. I live in DC, and my hours are the norm sooooo… I wonder if people were fibbing on the survey to make themselves seem less like workaholics.

  2. 40 hours is the minimum i’ve evr worked unless on vacation, sick or unemployed. I have a real hard time believing these results are representative.

  3. I guess it is all relative. We have people that say they work a lot but you never seem to know where they are when you look for them ;]

  4. @Nicole C. ,Ray, Michelle D – The article’s question was, “Who works the most?” Key word was “Work” It did not ask, Who was at work/place of employment the most? Or How many hours you were at your workplace. Many people are at their place of employment, but are not actually…..working. “Work” is measured by actual hours of production.

  5. Perhaps you should ask car salesmen what hours they work. 12 hour days 6 days a weeek (72) are quite common here in Texas. There are some lucky ones who only work 60 hours though.

  6. we work anywhere from 50 to 90 hours per week in the oil & gas industry….real men & real work,,,,,separates the boys & men….some call us oilfield tash , but have lots of money in our pockets

  7. This article is absolutely ridiculous and in no way reflects the actual hours worked for professionals or anyone who is “salaried.” When did this country decide it is OK to abuse staff, requiring them to work up to double the hours they are actually paid? It’s just WRONG and articles, such as this one, are harmful and hurtful. My hope is that more states will follow California law in requiring overtime worked to not only be PAID, but at overtime rates, no matter your pay “status.” And, just to be clear, “salaried” today does not mean what it did in the past. Salaried today equals 40 hrs of pay for an “expected” 60+ hours of work. And, in the healthcare IT industry where I’m employed, it’s even worse. You are always at the end of some sort of electronic device and expected to be available as needed, so in other words 24/7. No one should be working those kinds of hours or under that amount of stress. Let’s get back to what is important in life – family, friends, neighbors, community… Work just pays the bills……….

    • Agreed on salaried management jobs. I worked retail, and 50 hours was the minimum schedule for management. 60 hours was more nearly normal. One store manager scheduled us 80 hours a week for 2 months. I have worked 100 hours+ when doing a re-model before grand reopening. Several 24 hour days, a couple 36 hour days, one 48 hour day. 3 1/2 years with no weekend off because “when you have your own store, you can make the schedule the way you want to.”

  8. Ms. Madden
    your ststistics on hours worked in transportation are off a bit. Anyone in the trucking side of the industry will tell you that the hours logged are nowhere near the hours worked. With a 70 hr. work week allowed by federal law for an 8 day period, The average driver still works almost 80-90 hours in that period. If you do not, the job will not be yours for long. when writing about workers, try talking to the actual participants instead of looking at government figures. statistics can be bent to display any set of results you want them to.
    Seatbelts and lives saved for inxtance, Break it down into those that lived with belts, those that would have lived without belts, those that died without belts, those that would have died evem with belts. broken down that way, the statistics are almost dead even. The increase in loss of life is not seatbelt usage, it is the increase in traffic and the congestion from too few roads and poor planning.
    Your weiting is excellent, your coverage superior, but your information is often flawed from using statistics instead of actual interview information. Surveys that collect this information are carefully worded to ellicit the responses desired, not the truth.

  9. I agree with Chuck M. Where are farmers on this list? I think you might get up to 60+ hours if you check that. We used to farm and easily did 12+ hours without even blinking. My husband & I did it all ourselves with help from our children. We got tired and do something else now.

  10. Ms Madden, Did your research take you to Afghanistan or Iraq? How about checking in with the military or federal employees serving overseas? How about small business owners?

    Ridiculous article…

  11. I guarantee that professional educators that who are dedicated to their jobs work more intensely and put in more hours than almost any other professional.

  12. I might add that the professional educator also works for far less money
    than most other professionals with advanced degrees. Teachers also have to deal with the marginalization of their profession and an incredible amount of stress on a daily basis.
    But they do it because its an important job
    and they know that without teachers our children and young adults will be without an education and advocacy for their future.

  13. The hours for education- specifically classroom teachers- is ridiculously low. I spent at least 8 hours at school every day, in the classroom, designing lesson plans, attending meetings and parent conferences, tutoring students before and after school ,communicating by phone and email with parents, principals, other teachers, talking and counseling students, etc. Then when I was at home (evenings and week-ends), I graded papers and tests, entered grades into computer, planned activities to help engage students. That would be a typical week-50 hours easy. And the best part is that I loved almost every minute or hour!!

  14. These hours are definitely Not representative of what Educators work. I have now taught for 13 years and as previously stated by others, I also spend at least 8 hours per day with students~my day begins before the whole class comes in and lasts well beyond the dismissal of the students. This site is Not taking into account the extra help and /or detentions that we give the students. The time that we put in before and after hours to talk w/parents, hold our staff meetings, discuss issues w/co-workers, file medicaid reports, do caseload papers, hold IEPs~never during school, speak w/counselors, interpreters, etc… I Am a Special Education teacher~and the work never ends! I could go on as to how long it takes to grade papers, put grades in, hold parent teacher conf. etc., but that’s already been said. As has the fact that most of us do much work at home in the evenings and on the weekends!! I too, put in At least 50 hours per week~more like 60! I am sick and tired of Americans thinking that teachers have it so easy!! Come and walk in our shoes for at least 1 week, then and only then, will a person really know what hours a teacher puts in.

  15. This article isnt even anywhere close to who works the most hours. Not even close. I work in the thoroughbred horse racing industry caring for race horses who arent capable of caring for themselves. Our working hours are basically from 4/5am until 4/5pm, seven days a week. Not five days. Not six. But seven days a week. Sometimes our hours are much longer, seldom less. You do the math.

  16. Also I should have mentioned, if we are night racing(which is often), then putting in a 20 hour day is not out of the question. What I posted above is just normal working hours. So 100+ hours a week can easily be done. Sadly though, us workers are taken advantage of in this industry due to the fact, we dont get paid overtime, no benefits, no health insurance, no paid holidays, no paid sick days, etc.

    Try working this many hours for a $450 paycheck before taxes. And some workers are earning less. I know some employees are are working 60 hours a week and their paycheck is only $275/300 a week before taxes. Its either be a slave or be out of work and lose your job to another illegal(and yes, this industry is now 90% non-americas. This is the new modern day slavery American way.

  17. I don’t believe these Dept of Labor stats – superficial. The data probably was pulled from industry reports gathered from HR depts. Most workers report the max they are supposed to work in their category: FT, PT, Temp, etc. Many white collar workers record 40 hrs and work 50 – 80 hrs/week to keep up increasing demands and expectations for productivity and quality.

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