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John De Graaf and David Batker

Americans Work Too Much for Their Own Good: de Graaf and Batker

In 1965, a U.S. Senate subcommittee predicted that as a result of increasing labor productivity from automation and “cybernation” -- in other words, the computer revolution -- Americans would be working only about 20 hours a week by the year 2000, while taking seven weeks or more of vacation a year.

But in 1991, the average American worker put in 163 more hours on the job than in 1973, according to the sociologist Juliet Schor, the author of “The Overworked American.” Since many more families had two parents working, the increase in annual working hours per family was much higher -- 500 to 700 hours more than in the ‘70s.