European workers have put in fewer hours than Americans for decades. Now, they are working even less than before the pandemic—almost one day a week less than Americans in 2021, according to data for the five biggest European Union economies.
Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have increased their working hours by about 1%, on average, while Europeans have trimmed theirs by around 2%, according to data about the five large EU economies from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
That is partly because many European companies tried to avoid pandemic-related layoffs by reducing workers’ hours. Nearly two million Europeans still are in Covid-19 furlough programs, with governments, for now, covering a portion of their lost pay. The U.S. economy recovered more quickly, and many American workers who kept their jobs or found new ones have continued to work the same or longer hours.
Europe has long had a reputation in the U.S. for less demanding work hours and more generous vacation practices, which many Americans attributed to a different approach to work-life balance. The pandemic labor picture shows that the differences aren’t strictly voluntary.
Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have increased their working hours by about 1%, on average, while Europeans have trimmed theirs by around 2%, according to data on the 5 large EU economies https://t.co/jb2ZN0R7fL
— Gunjan Banerji (@GunjanJS) July 15, 2022