Watch LIVE

Charts Showing Just How Much Americans Work Compared to the French, Germans and Chinese Are Very Interesting


Americans like to think they work a lot, and new graphs released from the economic research division of the Federal Reserve Bank out of St. Louis now allow us to see just how true that is. The answer? It's complicated.

The Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) project has a nifty tool that allows you to combine graph data for the "average annual hours worked" by citizens in different countries.

The data is from the 4,542 international series from the University of Groningen’s Penn World Table 8.0, which includes GDP, productivity, household consumption, population levels and exchange rates for 167 countries.

According to the data, the average American works 1,703.55 annually, which is about 32.76 hours per week. This is significantly less than the peak of about about 1,920 hours annually from the 1950s.

us work hours In 2011, the average American worked 1,703.55 annually. That's about 32.76 hours per week. (Image: FRED)

These comparisons shows how the U.S. measures up against other countries.

Unites States vs. France (USA in red)

us france hours work This graph shows that the French at one point worked many more hours a year than Americans, but in the 1980s Americans surpassed the French as they continued to cut back. As of 2011, the French worked 1,475.79 hours annually or 28.38 hours per week. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. United Kingdom (USA in red)

The U.S. and the U.K. work a similar number of hours per year, although the U.S. still surpasses the U.K., which works 1,650.40 hours per year. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. Germany (USA in red)

The U.S. exceeds hours worked by Germans, which is about 1,406.25304 hours annually. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. Netherlands (USA in red)

Those in the Netherlands work an average of 1,381.78 hours annually. (Image: FRED)

Although the U.S. workforce puts in more hours than many other countries, it is by no means the hardest working. Many eastern countries, as one might expect, are among those that match or surpass U.S. workers.

United States vs. Japan (USA in blue)

The Japanese work about the same number of hours as Americans at 1,706.25 per year. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. Canada (USA in blue)

Canadians have a similar measure up as well with 1,707.88 hours annually. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. Province of China Taiwan (USA in blue)

Those in the China's Taiwan province work an average of 2,144.40 hours annually. That's a 41.24 work week. (Image: FRED)

United States vs. Singapore (USA in blue)

us singapore hours worked Workers in Singapore put in an average of 2,287.20 hours annually. (Image: FRED)

And to shake things up even more, Business Insider pulled together the U.S. (blue), France (red), Germany (green), Singapore (maroon), Korea (orange) and Hong Kong (purple) into one graph.

countries hours worked annually It's clear what area of the world works the most hours annually based on this graph which pulls together the U.S., several European and Asian countries. (Image: FRED via Business Insider)

Are you surprised?

On Monday's BlazeCast we discussed this story, the nature work in America, and how we might stir a revival of the work ethic:

Featured image via This story has been updated.



Most recent
All Articles