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It’s easier these days to stand out by putting in more hours at work once you land a temporary or temp-to-hire position. That’s because the average work week in the U.S. has declined by several hours since AtWork Group opened its first staffing agency in 1992. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, it’s helpful to crunch some numbers to understand how the labor market — and franchise staffing business — has changed, and what its future holds.

It’s often said the United States is the hardest-working country in the world. That’s not true, at least based on recent data.

That title is claimed by Mexico, our hard-toiling neighbor to the south.

Mexican workers put in 42.8 hours per week. That’s nearly a full day more than American workers, who average 34.4 hours of work each week, according to a 2016 survey by the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 1930 the average American work week was 47 hours. Costa Rica and South Korea round out the top three spots.

In fact, the U.S. places 17th out of 38 industrialized nations included in the survey, squarely in the middle. But the countries reporting the fewest hours worked per week are certainly not economic slouches: German workers report the lowest weekly hours worked, at 26. The Netherlands and Norway round out the bottom three. But those three countries also record high worker productivity.
In 1930 the average American work week was 47 hours. By 2000 it was down to 40, and it’s now 34 hours per week.

So what happened to the all-American grindstone?

Part of it is increased productivity as measured in labor output by worker. Another reason is an increase in the overall number of part-time jobs, as well as wage disincentives to work more. The Great Recession also took a toll on the overall labor hours available. And some members of the labor force are more apt to work fewer hours if it meets their economic needs.
Between 1950 and 1970, hours of work per week per worker in the U.S. declined by about four hours. That trend toward reduced weekly hours began to reverse in 1980. By 2000, American workers logged an average 40.46 hours.

In 2016, however, that weekly average had declined to the aforementioned 34.4 hours a week.
Combine that number with a tight labor market, and it’s a prime time to secure a temp or temp-to-hire job with AtWork, a leading staffing agency. If you put in the hours that others are not, you’ll find yourself with a valuable full-time job. We’ve placed people like you in jobs for 25 years. To find out what temp or temp-to-hire jobs are available near you, contact us today.