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Talking Points

Working longer?

September 10, 2000|LISA GIRION

Although many baby boomers believe they are putting in longer hours than their parents, only workers in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors actually have those bragging rights, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The workweek in mining and construction increased by 1.9 hours per job between 1964 and 1999.

In mining, the average workweek was the longest of all industries in 1999 at 43.8 hours. The average workweek went up a hour in manufacturing to 41.7.

By contrast, the workweek for major service industries got shorter with the biggest decline in retail trade, from 37 to 29 hours.

Declines also were reported in finance, insurance and real estate.


Toiling for Time Off

Americans rank well above their European counterparts in the average annual number of hours worked. Many workers get more time off than American employees. Vacation time is often mandated by law in many European countries, whereas U.S. companies determine vacation time primarily on length of service. Among countries surveyed by Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, Italy leads with the highest number of days off. The United States, by comparison, is woefully behind Europe:


Workweek Paid time off Avg. annual Country (hours) (hours) working hours Italy 40 328 1,752 France 35 252 1,568 Germany 40 264 1,816 Netherlands 40 264 1,816 Britain 37.5 233 1,718 United States 40 160* 1,976


* Includes vacation and paid holidays

Source: Hewitt Associates; Bureau of Labor Statistics

Researched by NONA YATES/Los Angeles Times

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