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Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

December 2005

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: How does working time in the United States compare with other countries?

Answer: In 2004, according to Current Population Survey (CPS) data, the average hours of work per week for persons who usually worked full time in the United States was 42.8 for nonagricultural industries, 49.4 for Agriculture and related industries, and 42.9 for all industries.

Source: Table 19. Persons at work in agriculture and nonagricultural industries by hours of work. (This table is found on the CPS home page. Scroll down to "Characteristics of the Employed.")

To find working hours in other countries, one source is the International Labour Organization's LABORSTA database.

Click "Yearly Data," choose country/countries, and then choose

  • Table 4A Hours of work, by economic activity AND/OR
  • Table 4B Hours of Work in manufacturing

Click "Go" and then click "Go" again to View or Download your data.

Other sources:

Working Time database
From the International Labour Organization, the working time database is a searchable database providing information on the working time laws of more than 100 countries around the world. It covers laws that protect the heath and well-being of workers; facilitate a balance between work and family life; ensure workers have adequate time to devote to their other responsibilities and interests; and prevent discrimination against part-time workers. The database provides summaries of the primary working time laws in each country.

Working Time Developments (European Union countries)
From the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO)

Hours of Work. From Fixed to Flexible?
International Labour Conference, 93rd Session, 2005, Report III (Part 1B)
2005, ix+139 pp.
ISBN 92-2-115364-9

In the Library Catalog, "Hours of Labor" is a Library of Congress Subject Heading.

— Researched by SAC