Americans are literally working themselves to death. America is the most overworked nation in the developed world and Americans have become hostage to their jobs that has made their work-life balance unattainable.
President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 signed into law the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as part of his New Deal agenda, establishing the five-day, 40-hour maximum workweek. The unions pushed it, and business leaders went along with it, since the research conducted in the five decades before that consistently found that 8-hour work days and 40-hour work weeks kept workers productive, safe, healthy, and efficient over a long period of time.
The 40-hour workweek, however, has slowly become a thing of past. More people in the middle-income bracket, as well as those in managerial positions are working longer hours.
In the 1970’s, 34% of men in professional-managerial positions worked 50-hours or more per week. Today that number has increased to 38%. As far as middle-income male workers are concerned, 21% worked more than 50-hours per week in the 1970’s, whereas today they account for 23% . With professional women, only 6% worked 50-hours or more per week in the 1970’s, whereas this figure has since more than doubled.
Tragically, Americans are working approximately 11 more hours per week now than they did in the 1970’s, yet the average income for middle-income families has declined by 13% since the 1970s.
Something to remember next time someone says that people complaining about having difficulty making ends meet aren’t “working hard enough” or that people complaining that their wages are too low are being “whiny” or “entitled”.