More Americans working more hours

40-hour work week seems to be thing of past

By Kristin Cason - Assignment editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - According to the U.S. Department of Labor's website, the idea of "Labor Day" has been around for more than a century.

The holiday known as Labor Day was first passed into law in the state of Oregon in 1887. Later that same year, four other states, including New York and Massachusetts, passed it. Finally, by 1894, 26 other states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28 of that year Congress passed it into law in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Unfortunately, the 40-hour work week that has long been regarded as the standard in American labor isn't so standard anymore.

A recent Gallup poll of adults working full-time in the U-S found some startling numbers:

  • 18% of those polled said their work week is actually 60 hours or more
  • 21% said they typically work between 50 and 59 hours a week
  • 11% said they work between 41 and 49 hours a week
  • 42% did say they still work a 40 hour week, but here's the breakdown of these numbers

The times are changing. The 40-hour work week is now more like a 47-hour work week.

"We've had a great career and we've worked very hard for it. We're of retirement age, (but) we still haven't retired. But it's worked for us, working hard, several careers," said tourist Claudia Hudgens.

In Florida, the situation is not nearly as dire as in the rest of the U.S. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, 295,000 Floridians work more than one job, but the state average of 3.4 percent is well below the national average of 4.9 percent.

For some people, working two jobs is less a necessity and more just something they want to do.

"I think it's a personal choice. If you want to work 40 hours a week and accept it at that, that's your choice, but if you want to work more and achieve more and so forth that's perfectly OK. That's the American way isn't it?" tourist Bill Hudgens said.

News4Jax talked to a college student who said she's not surprised by numbers like these and after she graduates she'd like to stick to 40 hours.

"I want to do physical therapy, so after that when I get my Master's and everything like that I hope to find my job, settle down and figure out -- 40 hours every week, like simple like that," said Denai Stone.

In that same Gallup poll, only 8 percent of those surveyed said they work less than 40 hours a week.

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