A new batch of government data shows that men clocked more time at the office in 2011 than they did in 2010.
The average increase in time men spent at work or on work-related activities went up even though the percentage of the population that was working didn’t rise by much. Experts say it’s a sign those who are working likely labored harder.
Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, sees it as a sign of the bifurcation of the economy between those who have a job – and now have more work to do – and those who don’t have a job and still are largely left out of the economy.
“This is still a very small change, but what it does suggest is that those who are doing well are doing better and better, and those who are doing badly are (still) doing badly,” said Hamermesh, who is best known for his book “Beauty Pays,” which argues attractive people are more successful.
The American Time Use Survey found that, on average, men spent 5.32 hours each weekday on work and related activites in 2011. That compares with 5.1 hours in 2010. Men also spent more weekend and holiday time working in 2011.
That figure includes people who are retired or otherwise out of the labor market and therefore didn’t work at all. Only about 60 percent of men were working or doing other related activities – including looking for work – during the week in 2011. That’s virtually unchanged from 2010.
Looking more closely just at the group who did work or related activities, they spent an average of 8.85 hours each weekday on those activities in 2011. That’s up from 8.57 in 2010.
For women, there was very little change in working hours between the two years.
As the economy slowly improved, more men had jobs at the end of 2011 than at the end of 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But more men also became working-age during the year, and the growth in jobs wasn’t enough to offset the growth in men available for work. The labor force participation rate for men 16 and older fell slightly between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011. It has since fallen a bit further.
The data on working hours is from the American Time Use Survey, a detailed annual look at everything from how much we sleep to how long we spend in front of the TV. The 2011 survey was based on a broad survey of more than 12,000 Americans.