Who Works More Hours – Americans or Europeans?

A new study has attempted to measure the differences between the total number of hours worked by American and European workers. It was not an easy task to accomplish. The original intent was to make it easier to compare countries to each other. It incorporated the length of a work week, retirement, unemployment, vacation, and time spent out of the workforce.

Bottom line Europeans work 19 percent less time than Americans, or about one hour less per day. Several reasons were given why has this occurred since in the 1970s both regions worked about the same amount. Researchers believe it has to do with labor unions and pensions. Labor unions are weaker in the U.S. and stronger in Europe. Because they are stronger in Europe the Europeans have more holidays and vacation time including four weeks off in the summer.

Regarding pensions, in the U.S. there has been a shift to the 401K model, however, even though it is individualized, retirees don’t know how much to pull out so they don’t run out of money – this has been more risky. In the U.S., more people over 65 are working than at any point in the past 50 years. Of course, there is the downside of all of this – Europeans pay more taxes and it is supposedly easier to get ahead in the U.S. Which path would you want to pursue?


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