Americans work too long (and too often at strange times)..

Daniel S. Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli point to this interesting post.

They say Americans work more on weekends and night time than Europeans:

American employees put in longer workweeks than Europeans. They are also more likely to work at undesirable times, such as nights and weekends. This column argues that the phenomena of long hours and strange hours are related. One possibility for this is cultural – Americans simply enjoy working at strange times. Another, more probable explanation, is the greater inequality of earnings of low-skilled workers in the US, compared to Europeans. 

The data looks like this:

The average US workweek is 41 hours, 3 hours longer than Britain’s and even longer than in Germany, France, Spain, or the Netherlands (see the Table below).

32% of American employees work 45 or more hours, compared with 18% in Germany, and 4% in France.

Only in the UK does the percentage of employees putting in these long hours approach the US one.

Over a year, the average American employee puts in 1,800 hours, which is more than any other wealthy country, even Japan. What is remarkable is the change during the past three decades. In 1979, Americans looked little different from workers in these other countries, working about the same number of hours per year as the French or the British, and many fewer hours than Japanese. Since then, employees in other countries have begun to take it easier, to enjoy their riches, but Americans have not.

The picture is even bleaker than these numbers suggest. Not only do Americans work longer hours than their European counterparts, but they are much more likely to work at night and on weekends.

27% of US employees perform some work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany the comparable fractions are much lower. Even in the UK, only 19 % of workers are on the job at night. 

Work on weekends is also more common in the US than in other rich countries, with 29% of American workers doing some work on weekends, far above Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands; and even in the UK only 25% of employees do some work on weekends. But despite their greater likelihood of working at these strange times, those Americans who work then put in no more hours per day than the smaller numbers of European workers who are on the job at nights and weekends.

Hmmm..

Trust Prof Hamermesh to ask and answer such questions..

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