We Work an Hour Longer Each Day Than Europeans
New study finds quite a disparity
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2016 1:35 PM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Feel like you're working too much? Consider moving to Europe: Europeans work 19% fewer hours than US workers, or about one hour less per weekday, a new paper finds. Researchers looked at three labor-force surveys from the US and Europe to find out how many hours a person works, on average, in various countries. They found that Americans work an average of 1,353 hours per year, the highest number of the 19 countries studied, Fortune reports. Compare that to Italy, where each person only works an average of 960 hours per year, the lowest number of hours of any country studied. Americans are also retiring later, taking less vacation time, and, as Quartz reports, are more likely to work odd hours, such as the middle of the night or weekends.

As recently as the early 1970s, US and Western European workers actually clocked about the same number of hours, Bloomberg reports. It's not clear what's changed or how to account for the discrepancy, but some economists point to the fact that there's more incentive to work harder for a promotion in the US, because people earn a wider range of incomes there than in Europe, so it's more likely they'll get a significant raise. There's also the fact that taxes are significantly higher in Europe, meaning that there's less of an incentive to work more hours and earn more money that will be taxed. Finally, there's the fact that labor unions and worker protections are stronger in Europe, and pensions are more generous there.
 

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