Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

Overwork And Its Costs

Americans with jobs tend to work long hours. Of course, averages can be deceiving, masking the fact that some people work too much while others work too little. 

Still, the following chart from the Economist magazine makes one thing clear: on average, U.S. workers with jobs put in more hours per year than workers in most OECD countries. In 2012, only Greece, Hungary, Israel, Korea, and Turkey recorded a longer work year per employed person.

working_hours_picture

A long work year is nothing to celebrate. The following chart, from the same Economist article, shows there is a strong negative correlation between yearly hours worked and hourly productivity.

working_hours_picture_1_2

More importantly, the greater the number of hours worked per year, the greater the likelihood of premature death and poor quality of life.  This reality is highlighted in the following two charts taken from an article by Angus Chen titled “8 Charts to Show Your Boss to Prove That You Can Do More By Working Less.”

health

well-being

In sum, we need to pay far more attention to the organization and distribution of work, not to mention its remuneration and purpose, than we currently do.

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