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Hard Working Americans - 7/24/15

Despite the claims of certain pundits, by advanced world standards, Americans work hard.  The issue of how much effort Americans supply to the labor market has been elevated by recent reports regarding labor force participation.  Last month, U.S. labor force participation fell to its lowest level since October nineteen seventy seven. 

Some have used this data point to indicate that Americans are growing lazier, but labor force participation has been falling in large measure because a growing number of Baby Boomers are finally retiring.  According to CNNMoney, Americans work an average of thirty four point four hours per week, longer than their counterparts in other large economies.  In Australia, workers toil thirty two hours per week and in Norway about twenty seven. 

These tallies include part time workers.  Adults employed full time in the U.S. work an average of forty seven hours per week, which equates to nearly six days a week according to Gallup.  That’s about an hour and a half more than they reported a decade ago.  And more than four in ten workers logs more than fifty hours on the job per week.  Americans also receive fewer vacation days than their peers elsewhere.  Now go out and enjoy your weekend.  You’ve earned it. 

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.