Are professionals in New Brunswick slacking off?

I am reading that in the United States, the professional class and the wealthy are working far more hours per week than they did a couple of generations ago while the poorer classes are working considerably less hours.  I don’t have data on that to show here but Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart – which I recently finished – has data to back this up.

It’s hard to extract meaningful data to show if this trend exists in Canada and in New Brunswick but the highest level source – average hours worked from the Labour Force Survey – would suggest that we have even a slightly reverse trend going on here.  I stress that is this only one source, small sample sizes and only one data point but it is interesting.

The Labour Force Survey lets us compare hours worked (main job) for a variety of occupational categories and we can compare back to 1987.   Across all occupations and workers, the average weekly hours worked dipped slightly from 1987 to 2011 (-2%).  Interestingly, the the number of people who worked 40 hours a week declined by 6% (the largest number of workers by hours worked) but the number who worked 41 to 49 hours rose by 56%.

When we look at professional occupations – the average weekly hours dropped by 6% over the period – the same decline as professional occupations in business and finance.  Natural science and government occupations also saw declines in average weekly hours worked.

Contrast that with clerical jobs, trades, machine operators and several other lower wage/skill occupations which saw an increase in average hours worked.

While the sample sizes are small, there is some interest data within the hours worked categories, too.

 

Total employed, all occupations (10)

2011

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 27,900

42%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 24,600

23%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 48,700

46%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 43,000

22%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 54,700

53%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 71,700

-6%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 42,400

56%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 39,000

20%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job)

36.1

-2%

Management occupations [A]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,000

43%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

n/a

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,300

130%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,900

38%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,500

75%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 6,000

18%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,900

104%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 5,800

4%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

41.3

-6%

Other management occupations [A1-A3]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,900

46%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

n/a

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,100

133%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,700

42%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,400

89%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,900

23%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,600

109%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 5,500

6%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

41.3

-6%

Teachers and professors [E1 E130] (12)

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,000

18%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 900

50%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,300

44%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,200

-14%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,700

113%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,800

-28%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,900

111%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 2,100

40%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

38.4

2%

Professional occupations in business and finance [B0]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 500

n/a

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 n/a

n/a

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,100

n/a

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,500

150%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,300

156%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,400

56%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

n/a

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 900

n/a

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

36.6

-6%

Natural and applied sciences and related occupations [C]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,200

100%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 500

n/a

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,700

183%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,600

100%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,300

87%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,400

46%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,300

136%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 2,200

100%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

38.6

-2%

Occupations in social science, government service and religion [E0 E2]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,300

n/a

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,100

10%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,000

82%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,900

73%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,000

173%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,300

35%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,200

100%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 1,400

17%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

34.3

-3%

Health occupations [D]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,000

88%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,300

86%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,500

73%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,100

116%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 7,000

37%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,500

35%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,700

238%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 1,500

50%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

34.5

-3%

Business, finance and administrative occupations [B]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,600

75%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,600

3%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 9,300

45%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 9,400

18%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 16,800

46%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 12,000

3%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,100

76%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 2,400

14%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

34.1

1%

Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport [F]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 n/a

n/a

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 900

50%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,200

71%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 900

80%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,100

83%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

0%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 600

n/a

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 n/a

n/a

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

31.1

-6%

Sales and service occupations [G] (11)

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 6,600

65%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 11,700

17%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 20,600

39%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 11,800

24%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 10,800

44%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 17,100

-1%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 6,900

15%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 4,000

-22%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

30.5

-4%

Clerical occupations, including supervisors [B4-B5]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,800

81%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,000

-20%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,900

69%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 5,700

39%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 10,700

84%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 7,900

23%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,000

88%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 1,100

57%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

34

3%

Financial, secretarial and administrative occupations [B1-B3]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,200

20%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,300

30%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,300

-12%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,200

-33%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,800

-21%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,700

-39%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,100

10%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 500

-50%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

32.7

-5%

Machine operators and assemblers in manufacturing, including supervisors [J0-J2]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 700

-13%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 n/a

n/a

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 700

0%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

-29%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 1,000

0%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,900

-31%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,400

55%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 2,100

110%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

41.8

7%

Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations [H]

000s

1987-2011

0 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,600

-3%

1 to 14 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 2,200

38%

15 to 29 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 3,800

27%

30 to 34 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 6,400

-6%

35 to 39 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 4,100

41%

40 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 16,900

-20%

41 to 49 hours (x 1,000) (2)

 10,000

41%

50 hours or more (x 1,000) (2)

 12,600

40%

Average actual hours (worked in reference week, main job) (hours)

41.6

2%

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2 Responses to Are professionals in New Brunswick slacking off?

  1. Mike E says:

    Why not use SEPH it is a better data source, especially where hours worked are concerned.

  2. Given the choice, I would take less money and work fewer hours (this as always presumes that the less money taken is still enough to live on). I doubt that the economy would be harmed.

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