Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Americans don't work the longest hours

The statement

"We now work the longest hours of any people around the world."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a C-SPAN interview

The ruling

Sanders' office forwarded us a news release from the International Labor Organization, a London-based United Nations agency that oversees international labor standards.

According to the story, "US workers put in the longest hours on the job in industrialized nations, clocking up nearly 2,000 hours per capita in 1997, the equivalent of almost two working weeks more than their counterparts in Japan where annual hours worked have been gradually declining since 1980, according to a new statistical study of global labour trends published by the International Labour Office."

This fact-check seemed like a slam dunk until we saw the date of the news release: Sept. 6, 1999. And it was based on 1997 data.

We contacted the International Labor Office for more recent statistics. They provided a spreadsheet from 2008, which shows the United States ranked eighth (out of 28) when it comes to the annual number of hours actually worked per person.

Topping the list was Greece, where people logged an average of 2,120 hours. Also working longer hours: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Mexico, Iceland and Italy.

The United States, where people worked an average of 1,792 hours, did nudge out Japan, where the average was 1,771 hours.

We also checked with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a group of 32 large, industrialized democracies, which tracks these kinds of statistics. Their report showed a nearly identical number of hours worked by Americans in 2008, 1,796. But in the OECD report, which tracked more countries, the U.S. ranked 12th (out of 35). In addition to the ILO list of countries working more hours, the OECD listed Korea, Russia, Estonia and Israel.

While the data shows Americans work longer hours than the average for industrialized nations, the number of hours worked by Americans has been gradually declining over the last decade. And according to the ILO, we no longer work the longest hours. In fact, that hasn't been true for over a decade. And according to OECD statistics, the United States hasn't even cracked the Top 10 in over a decade.

Sanders said, "We now work the longest hours of any people around the world." We rule his statement False.

Edited for print. For more rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Americans don't work the longest hours 03/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For Fourth of July, an American feast inspired by founding father Alexander Hamilton

    Cooking

    Are there a million things you haven't done? Is one of them throwing a patriotic party inspired by one of the founding fathers?

    Caribbean Pork With Potato Salad makes for the perfect Fourth of July meal.
  2. 'Baby Driver' literally turns heist movie genre on its ear, set to slick soundtrack

    Movies

    Buckle up for Baby Driver, a movie so full throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.

    Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for heist arranger Doc (Kevin Spacey). Plagued by tinnitus, Baby tunes out his distracting “hum in the drum” by listening to music while he drives.
Sony Pictures
  3. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor
  4. Life after HB7069 to be discussed at Pinellas school district workshop

    Blogs

    The Pinellas County school district is still trying to navigate life after the controversial passage of HB7069.

  5. Sens. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, were among the highest-ranking local lawmakers on the Florida Society of News Editors' "Sunshine Scoreboard."