NC in Focus: Average Hours Worked Per Week

With respect to average hours worked, North Carolina is…pretty average, at least compared to the United States.

In 2013, North Carolina employees worked an average of 34.5 hours per week or 1,794 hours per year. The U.S. average was 34.4 hours per week or 1,788 hours per year. Among the states, North Carolina was 24th for average weekly hours worked. Texas had the highest hours worked (36.3) and Delaware the lowest (32.6).

Average hours worked per week vary more significantly across countries. Mexicans work the longest hours, an average of 43 hours per week, followed by South Koreans (41.6 hours per week). In contrast, workers in Slovenia, France, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands worked fewer than 30 hours per week in 2013.

NC v OECD Hours WorkedWhat explains the differential? Most of the OECD countries have statutory minimum leave requirements ranging from 2 to 4 weeks of mandated paid employee leave. In contrast, the U.S. has no mandatory minimum for paid worker leave. Workers in other countries may work similar hours per week when they are working, but working 2 to 4 fewer weeks per year will lower the total hours worked per year and the corresponding average hours worked per week.

About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
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