Americans are hard workers, putting in an average of nearly 1,780 hours per year as of 2019, according to the World Economic Forum. That’s about 390 hours per year more than Germans work, but about 360 fewer than Mexicans do. Of course, fewer Americans have the chance to work this year due to the massive unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a recent Yale study found that even when there were increased benefits for the unemployed, that didn’t disincentivize Americans to work.
Even when given the chance to not work as hard, many Americans won’t. In fact, the average American only uses 54% of their available vacation time. However, while it may seem as if workers are happily pursuing the American Dream, many individuals’ reasons for working hard may not be so pleasant. Some fear that if they take time off they will look less dedicated to the job than other employees, risking a layoff. Others worry about falling behind on their work or are concerned that the normal workflow will not be able to function without them.
It is possible to work hard without overdoing it, though. Hard work is key to success, and the people of some states understand that better than others. To determine where Americans work the hardest, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 key indicators. They range from average workweek hours to share of workers with multiple jobs to annual volunteer hours per resident. Read on for the results, insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Hardest-Working States in the U.S.
‘Direct Work Factors’
‘Indirect Work Factors’
Ask the Experts
The hard work ethic of Americans has brought about the creation of many successful businesses. But overworking can take a harsh toll on workers. For additional insight on both productivity and the condition of workers, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the following key questions:
- In the current economic environment, do you believe wages will register a true increase or will people need to work extra or get a second job?
- What impact do you believe automatization will have on the American worker? How will new industrial developments, like 3D printing and machine learning, impact the productivity of the average worker? How about his/her income?
- Do you believe job conditions are on the rise in the U.S.? What measures should authorities undertake in order to better protect workers?
- As economic activity gradually resumes after the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the most important measures that can be taken to ensure workers’ safety?
In order to determine where the hardest-working Americans live, WalletHub compared the 50 states across two key dimensions: “Direct Work Factors” and “Indirect Work Factors.”
We evaluated those dimensions using ten key metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the “hardest-working.”
We then determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.
Direct Work Factors – Total Points: 80
- Average Workweek Hours: Triple Weight (~36.92 Points)
- Employment Rate: Full Weight (~12.31 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated as follows: civilian population aged 16 years and over employed / total civilian population aged 16 years and over in labor force.
- Share of Households where No Adults Work: Full Weight (~12.31 Points)
- Share of Workers Leaving Vacation Time Unused: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
- Share of Engaged Workers: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
Note: This metric measures the share of employees who are “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace,” as defined by Gallup.
- Idle Youth (16-24) Rate: Half Weight (~6.15 Points)
Note: This metric measures the rate of residents aged 16-24 who are neither in school nor working.
Indirect Work Factors – Total Points: 20
- Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
- Share of Workers with Multiple Jobs: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric was calculated as share of employed population with multiple jobs among total employed population.
- Annual Volunteer Hours per Resident: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
- Average Leisure Time Spent per Day: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Schultz Family Foundation, U.S. Travel Association, Gallup and Corporation for National & Community Service.
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