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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Good News, Bernie Sanders: Average Workweeks Are Getting Shorter

Capitalism is letting people choose more leisure


Senator Bernie Sanders recently tweeted the following.
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Fortunately, the gruelingly long workweek described by Sanders is not the norm. In fact, leisure time has been on the rise. In 1950, an average U.S. worker worked 1,984 hours a year, or about 38 hours a week. In 2015, an average American worker worked 1,767 hours, or about 34 hours a week.

That means that the average U.S. worker had 217 more hours for leisure or other pursuits in 2015 than in 1950. That is about 9 days of extra time.  

The 50-hour workweek described by Sanders is more common in China, where the average worker worked 2,432 hours in 2015, or around 47 hours a week. 

This post first appeared at HumanProgress.org.
Compare other countries over time with their interactive dataset.


  • Chelsea Follet works at the Cato Institute as a Researcher and Managing Editor of HumanProgress.org.