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US workers put in more and more hours

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The Guardian reports that workers in the USA are putting in the longest hours of any country in the industrialised world.

The findings come from new research from the International Labour Organisation, which, according to the paper, shows that the average American now spends a week a year more at work than they did ten years ago – a total of 1,978 hours a year. Only workers in South Korea and the Czech Republic, both classed as developing countries, put in more hours than US workers.

Lawrence Jeff Johnson, an economist who was in charge of the research team at the ILO, told the paper the figures showed the increased emphasis placed on work in the US: “Americans define themselves by their work. When you meet the average European it takes a while for them to tell you what they do for a living…Americans tell you immediately what they do.” He also identified a blurring of the boundaries between work and free time. Although this wasn’t unique to the US, Mr Johnson told the paper America’s labour flexibility, coupled with a tendency to move quickly between jobs, contributed towards the increased hours being worked.

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