The American Workday in One Graph

A new study shows just where and where we're spending our workday
NPR produced a wonderful graph this week, and distributed it widely. The study, conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor & Statistics, is called the American Time Use Survey, an annual look at when Americans say they’re on the job in any given workday. NPR, though, made it visual and got all of our attention. One of the findings, one we find quite relative to this audience, said that self-employed workers were nearly three times more likely than wage and salary workers to have done some work at home on days worked–56 percent compared with 20 percent. Self-employed workers also were more likely to work on weekend days than were wage and salary workers–43 percent compared with 31 percent. While the report is seeking to emphasize that the self employed are home-based workers, what we noticed in that stat is that just 56% of self-employed workers were likely to have conducted some of their work at home. So that means that 44% have been working elsewhere. Obviously this study focuses on core work categories for American employment – some of which include more careers that are un-constrained by office walls such as construction, mechanics, entertainment, and factory production, so we’re guessing that’s where our numbers drop off. That said, we would love to see the breakdown of that proportion of the self-employed not working at home might read. But that’s besides the point! While we wish we had the research strength of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, we’re not quite there yet! So make sure you check out the great visual that NPR offered us this week and share with your friends. The workday is clearly still intact and the generalizations around the various industry labor issues we’ve long-believed just might be true (special nods out to your our Architects and Engineers).

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