Americans Slept Less, Worked More in 2016

By Sarah Chaney Features Dow Jones Newswires

Americans spent more time working and less time sleeping in 2016 than the year before, echoes of an improving labor market.

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Americans, on average, spent four hours and 36 minutes working in 2016, up about eight minutes from a year ago, according to the American Time Use Survey, released Tuesday by the Labor Department.

The report includes weekday habits of those 15 years old and older who work and those who don't, including aging Americans steadily leaving the labor force. Despite that demographic pressure, the number of Americans working as a proportion of the overall population has been on the rise in recent years and was 59.7% in December.

Meanwhile, the average amount of time Americans spent sleeping ticked down five minutes to an average of eight hours and 30 minutes in 2016.

Other highlights of how Americans used their time:

-- Employed women are working less, and employed men are working more. Women with jobs spent an average of six hours and 22 minutes a day working in 2016, down nine minutes from 2015. Employed men spent seven hours and 55 minutes working, a seven-minute increase from the prior year. Men's increased work hours signal that a healthier job market is stemming a tide of labor-force dropouts.

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-- Men who are not employed spent seven hours and 37 minutes on leisure last year, about two minutes less than in 2015. Women who are not employed spent 10 minutes less on leisure in 2016 than a year earlier. Both groups spent more time on household chores.

-- Millennials worked more hours last year. In recent years, those born from roughly 1980 to 2000 had worked less and slept more. Millennials worked an average of four hours and 53 minutes in 2016 on weekdays, the highest level since 2011.

Nearly 10,500 people were interviewed for the 2016 survey, the Labor Department said.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 16:18 ET (20:18 GMT)