The onset of the pandemic—and the country's subsequent recovery efforts as we emerge from it—completely upended the U.S. workforce. The country saw massive layouts during a short but dramatic two-month recession that ended in April 2020 and then a tight hiring market as employees left jobs at such a rate that experts dubbed it the "Great Resignation." So how has all of these trends impacted how much American workers are putting in each week on the job?
From 2019-2021, Americans in nine states and Washington D.C. worked more than 35 hours per week on average, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, representing the longest work weeks in the country.
The average wages for American workers at the same time ranged between $26-$28 an hour.
Nextiva used data from the BLS to determine how many hours people work in each state, on average to see trends in pay and hours worked. BLS calculates average weekly hours by dividing all employee hours by the total number of employees, so calculations include both full- and part-time workers. BLS data is based on surveys, and actual values may vary.
During the pandemic, average work hours increased by two to three hours per week, rising alongside wages which grew an average of $2-$3 an hour per week. The top 10 longest work weeks' wages on average in the U.S. ranged in 2021 from about $887 in Kentucky to $1,838 in Washington D.C.
In 2019, those weekly wages were $801.33 and $1,613.12 in the same states.
Some professions may contribute to long working hours more than others. Frontline workers who directly provide services—such as nurses, teachers, retail salespeople, wait staff, mechanics, and real estate agents—comprise 70% of the American workforce, according to a July 2022 McKinsey study. The "Great Resignation" and competitive hiring market spurred some states, such as California, Kentucky, and Georgia, to increase wages to attract more candidates: 3% to 7% percent of frontline workers alone quit their jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Keep reading to discover which states have residents spending the most time on the job.