How Many Hours A Week Do you Work?

This is one of many examinations of Labor and human satisfaction, brought to you by Critical Provocation all this month of April – in honor of spring. We set out to examin the working lives of our brothers and sisters around the world. Please look for future articles examining everything from access to health care and education around the world, to the United Nationas annual Human Development Index.

We begin with working lives around the globe. 

How often do you work? In the Untied States we spend on Average 34.4 hours a week on our “main job”. This is according to the OECD, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S Ranks 16th longest work week. Mexico is first with 42.85 hours per week and Germany came last at 36th place for shortest work week of 26.37 hours worked per week.
What does this mean?
The United States Leads the World in GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which is the monetary value of all goods and services produced within a nation’s boarders per year. Our GDP is almost 18 Million dollars, Mexico ranks 15th with a GDP of 1 million. While Germany is ranked 4th with a 4 million dollar GDP.
Mexican workers work longer hours per week and produce a smaller GDP. while Germans work the shortest and produce more. We work 37 hours per week on average and produce the most.
This raises questions:
Should we assume these statistics are positively correlated? If not, what metric should we use?
Does hours worked per week positively correlate to gross domestic product?
In the U.S. workers only work 4 hours less then the longest working Mexicans, who work on average 42 hours per week. We work less and produce 17 million more per year in goods and services. We owe something to our nation’s size and our population, we have many more people working 4 hours less  per week then Mexico.
The U.S has a population of 318 million, Mexico 122 million and Germany which is the smallest geographically and whose workers work the least has 80 million.
A positive correlation does not exist between GDP and Average Hours worked per week alone. Other Factors need to be taken into account.


Mexico Germany United States
42 hours per week 26 hours per week 37 hours per week
GDP 1 million GDP 4 million GDP 18 Million
Pop 122 million Pop 80 Million Pop 312 Million
5.3 M Unemployed 4.8 M Unemployed 15 M Unemployed
116 M employed 75 M Employed 297 M Employed
Quality of our Labor:
It must be understood that while manufacturing is increasing in Mexico (NAFTA) and Germany (Euro Zone) the hours people work in the United States ae becoming more and more service industry related, big box stores and fast food resturants are our nations fastest growing employers. It’s no wonder that unionsim is on the rise in these sections of the economy. It is my opinion that while we produce 18 million annually, most of this is crap. One last question that remains unknown, how does global trade arrgrements affect national GDP? For another time.
Conclusion in Brief:
The Mexican economy performs as well as it can given it’s labor force. However, despite the advances Mexico has over Germany they still can not out perform. More Mexicans, work longer hours and on more land area then Germans do. While fewer Germans work less hours and produce more in a smaller geographical area.
Meanwhile, the United States is a huge global power house whose workers only work 11 hours more then Germany. We have the most people employed, and the largest land mass to produce on, our GDP is a reflection of that.

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