Americans may be a hardworking nation, but we aren't skimping on our play time, either.
The typical employed person in the U.S. now puts in 7.8 hours at work, up from 7.6 hours in 2008, when the Great Recession was in full swing, according to data from the American Time Use survey. Some workers might already have experienced the effects given the pressures in many workplaces to put in longer hours and to be available "on demand" as mobile technology grows ubiquitous.
Perhaps more surprising is that Americans today are also carving out more time for leisure. That's especially true for men, with the survey finding that the guys are kicking back 6 hours a day, up from 5.7 hours back in 2008. Women have inched up to 5.2 hours of daily leisure time, from 5.1 hours during the same time period. As for what people are are doing with their time, Americans remain devoted to the boob tube, with people spending an average of 2.8 hours a day glued to the screen.
So how can Americans both work more and spend more time kicking back? It's not that we're burning the candles at both ends. On top of everything else, people are also sleeping more, with the survey finding that the average citizen sacks out 8.8 hours a day, up from 8.6 hours in 2008.
Instead, Americans are cutting back on the time they spend on education, buying goods and services, and in telephoning and emailing. In each category, the time shifts are small, but a few minutes here and there can add up to larger gains in other categories, such as earning a paycheck or sleeping.
Aside from working longer hours, there are changes in the way Americans are working, according to the study, which is based on data from 11,600 individuals. More people are working from home, with the survey finding that 23 percent of Americans did some or all of their work from home in 2014, up from 21 percent in 2008.
Educated, slightly older workers were more likely to work at home than the population at large. The survey found that almost four out of 10 employed people over the age of 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher -- those workers who are less likely to be engaged in manual labor or factory work -- did some work at home. For employed Americans with only a high-school degree, 12 percent did some work at home.
While Americans like to complain about having not enough hours in the day, that might be more of a perception issue than reality. After all, even after taking care of kids, housework, volunteering and making dinner, American still have time to spend almost three hours watching TV each day.
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