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. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates

    Banking

    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Romano: One person, one vote is not really accurate when it comes to Florida

    Politics

    Imagine this:

    Your mail-in ballot for the St. Petersburg mayoral election has just arrived. According to the fine print, if you live on the west side of the city, your ballot will count as one vote. Meanwhile, a ballot in St. Pete's northeast section counts for three votes.

    Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections worker Andrea West adds mail ballots to an inserter Sept. 22 at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Service Center in Largo. (SCOTT KEELER   |   Times)
  3. St. Petersburg will hold first budget hearing tonight

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City's new property tax rate looks exactly like its current rate. For the second year in a row, Mayor Rick Kriseman does not plan to ask City Council for a tax hike or a tax cut.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. 'We were lucky': Zephyrhills, Dade City get back to normal after Irma

    Hurricanes

    Two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, residents and city officials in eastern Pasco — hit harder than other areas of the county — are moving forward to regain normalcy.

    Edward F. Wood, 70, tugs at a branch to unload a pile of debris he and his wife picked up in their neighborhood, Lakeview in the Hills in Dade City.
  5. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?

    News

    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]