Manufacturing News

US factory workers putting in longest working week since WWII

US Labor Department figures for last month show American factory workers are now working longer hours than at any time since 1944.

As the lnternational Business Times reports, on average manufacturing workers are now working 41.9 hours a week. This figure, which was matched during the economically robust years of 1997 and 1998, is the highest since World War II.

Back in 1944, as their brothers fought in the Pacific and in Europe, U.S. factory workers put in a record 45.4 hour working week.

The increase has been matched by higher weekly earnings. Even though there has been movement away from higher paid union jobs to non-union jobs, the extra hours worked has translated to a 17 per cent salary advantage over workers from other industries.

Since 2009, factories have added 500,000 jobs and the manufacturing sector has consistently delivered productivity improvements.

When compared to the figure for 2012, productivity in the sector is up 2.2 per cent. In comparison, productivity for the rest of the U.S. has economy rose by only 0.7 per cent in the same period.

Figures released in January by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that Australian full-time non-managerial workers in the manufacturing sector are working remarkably similar hours. Compared to their US counterparts on 41.9 hours a week, Australians are clocking an average 41.1 hour working week.

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