[lbo-talk] US average weekly hours worked (Why is America so violent)

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Mon May 14 05:57:02 PDT 2007

On May 14, 2007, at 4:44 AM, James Heartfield wrote:

> I think the comment of Doug's Miles remembers is this:
> "Total hours worked in the U.S. private sector have risen 70% since
> 1973;
> the pop is up only 43%. So the rise in
> aggregate consumption has come with a huge increase in the work
> effort"
> Which is an estimate of the total hours worked, in relation to the
> total
> population, whereas you would need to relate it to the working
> population to
> get the hours worked by an average American.

In the 1950s and 1960s, 56-57% of the adult U.S. population worked for pay. That rose to 60% in the 1980s, and peaked at almost 65% in 2000. It fell in the recession and has risen slowly since, and is now around 63%. So a larger portion of the U.S. pop is working for pay than in the "Golden Age" - mainly women. Male participation rates have fallen, esp for older people. A major reason the average individual workweek (now 33.8 hours, just above its all-time low) has fallen is the declining weight of manufacturing, where the average workweek is 41 hours. Manufacturing was 30% of the workforce in 1950; 21% in 1980; now, it's 10%.


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