Americans Work Too Much for Their Own Good

This is a compelling op-ed on Bloomburg.com. American companies are way too stingy with vacation time! I’ve worked at a few companies that offered three weeks of vacation and it was heavenly. I’ve worked at others where you feel lucky to get two weeks.

Sooner or later, more American companies will learn that they don’t get more productive workers by keeping their noses to the grindstone.

By the mid-1970s, and especially after 1980, median wages weren’t keeping pace with increases in our capacity to produce. But flattening incomes didn’t derail the consumption train. Americans continued to buy more, in part by going deeper into debt, by having more members of the family enter the workforce and by working additional overtime. By the boom times of the late 1990s, Americans worked more than the notoriously workaholic Japanese.

The Europeans took a different path. In the second half of the 20th century, prodded by strong and active labor movements and social-democratic political parties, Europeans took a large chunk of their productivity gains in the form of more leisure. They now work only 80 to 85 percent as many hours as Americans, and when you consider that fewer people in Europe work and that they retire earlier, the difference is even greater.

via Americans Work Too Much for Their Own Good: de Graaf and Batker – Bloomberg.

One Response to “Americans Work Too Much for Their Own Good”

  1. cod says:

    //Sooner or later, more American companies will learn that they don’t get more productive workers by keeping their noses to the grindstone.//

    Not as long as unemployment stays at 9%. If you don’t like it somebody else will happily take your job. It occurs to me that the reason Congress is unwilling to do anything about jobs is that their corporate masters are quite happy with the status quo.