Changes in average weekly hours, 1964-99

September 06, 2000

From 1964 to 1999, all of the major goods-producing industries—mining, construction, and manufacturing—added hours to their average workweeks. In contrast, all of the major service-producing industries lost hours from their workweeks.

Average weekly hours of production/nonsupervisory workers, by industry, 1964 and 1999
[Chart data—TXT]

In both mining and construction, average weekly hours per job rose by 1.9 hours between 1964 and 1999; in mining, the average workweek was the longest of all the industries in 1999, at 43.8 hours. The average workweek went up by 1 hour in manufacturing in the 1964-99 period, from 40.7 to 41.7 hours.

Among service-producing industries, the biggest decline by far in weekly hours was in retail trade, from 37 hours in 1964 to 29 hours in 1999. Finance, insurance, and real estate had the smallest drop in hours, from 37.3 to 36.2 hours.

This information is from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program. For each industry, average weekly hours is computed by dividing the sum of reported paid hours by the total number of production or nonsupervisory workers in the industry. Changes in average weekly hours in an industry can be due to various reasons; for example, there could be a shift in an industry to employing more part-time workers. Learn more about average weekly hours in "On the decline in average weekly hours worked" by Katie Kirkland, Monthly Labor Review, July 2000.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Changes in average weekly hours, 1964-99 on the Internet at (visited September 29, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.