Americans Are Working, Playing and Sleeping More

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Americans are spending more time working — as well as relaxing — than they did during 2008, when the country was in the middle of a deep recession.

The results of the latest annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS), which recently were released by the U.S. Department of Labor, show that the average employed person worked about 7.8 hours per workday in 2014 compared with about 7.6 hours in 2008.

The ATUS breaks down how Americans spend the 24 hours they have each day, with the latest survey based on interviews with about 11,600 people.

The survey found that on a typical day, almost everyone age 15 and older spent some time on leisure activities, such as watching television, socializing or exercising.

Men spent six hours in such activities, while women spent 5.2 hours. These totals were increases from 5.7 hours and 5.1 hours, respectively, when compared with 2008.

Watching TV is the leisure activity to which we devote the most time — about 2.8 hours per day.

Extra sleep apparently helped fuel the extra work and play. Americans slept an average of 8.8 hours a night last year, up from 8.6 hours in 2008 during the recession.

So how are we fitting in the extra time for work, play and sleep? By making minor reductions to how much time we spend on other activities, according to CBS News:

Americans are cutting back on the time they spend on education, buying goods and services, and in telephoning and emailing. In each category, the time shifts are small, but a few minutes here and there can add up to larger gains in other categories, such as earning a paycheck or sleeping.

University of Maryland sociology professor John P. Robinson tells the Wall Street Journal that the findings of the latest ATUS stand in contrast to the idea that Americans are living busier and more frantic lives:

“If you’ve got time to watch television, I think you’ve got time,” Robinson says.

How do you think your use of time has changed the most since the recession? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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