How Americans Spend Their Day: Less Work, More Sleep And TV

Tyler Durden's picture

It was about a year ago when we were surprised to learn that when it comes to spending their average day, American adults (15+, male and female), the typical American spent just over 3 hours per day working, less than the time allotted to eating/drinking and watching TV. The most time-consuming activity, not surprisingly, was sleep, taking up just over a third of the day, following by leisure and sports to which Americans devote over 5 hours a day.

This week the BLS released its latest "American Time Use Survey" and unlike last year, this time we were not surprised to learn that not only are Americans far more preoccupied with sleeping and watching TV than working, but they have never slept more and worked less in the past decade. Perhaps in addition to obesity, the ongoing deterioration in the fundamentals of the US economy, already crushed by the Fed's central planning capital misallocation, may have something to do with this latest disturbing trend. Just perhaps.

The hourly breakdown of typical activities the average American engaged in during 2013:


The WSJ, when looking at the numbers, reaches the same conclusion: "Americans slept more and worked less last year, reflecting an economy that remains groggy after the recession and an older population with more time to rest."

How has the average US day changed over the past decade:

The trend is ugly, and it's getting worse:

Averaging together both weekdays and weekends, Americans older than 14 slept for eight hours, 44 minutes and conducted work-related activities for three hours, 28 minutes each day, according to the Labor Department's annual American Time Use Survey, released Wednesday. That is 14 minutes less work a day and 10 minutes more sleep than when the survey began a decade earlier, and a bit less work and more sleep than in 2012. 


Americans have tended to sleep a bit more and work a bit less each year in the past decade. But the deep recession from 2007 until 2009 appeared to have accelerated the trends.

So if they aren't working what are they doing? Watching TV.

According to the survey, Americans' No. 1 hobby remains watching television. In 2013, respondents said they spent an average of two hours, 46 minutes a day watching TV, 11 minutes more than in 2003 but down slightly from the previous year.

As John P. Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, correctly observes,  "The data defies popular expectations. People say they're too busy for leisure and don't have time to sleep, but that seems not to be the case."

Americans lying about their daily routine? Unpossible.

The numbers are collected from about 11,400 individuals via phone interviews where participants are asked to reconstruct a diary of the previous day. Participants are selected to ensure estimates are nationally representative, the Labor Department said.

WSJ's conclusion: "It is difficult to grasp precisely why people have shifted how they spend their days. But demographics and economics play a large role."

Actually, it's not that difficult at all, and the following chart showing the number of hours spent sleeping (a cycle high), compared a work (a cycle low) shows pretty much all you need to know.

So less work, more sleep: with increasing automation, an ever older population and an economy that is still mired in a deep depression only masked by the global central planners' attempts at reflating asset prices and generating a "confidence boosting" wealth effect for some, and welfare for others, this is hardly surprising.

However, perhaps what is most interesting, and what is best known by a regime whose survival depends on preserving confidence in the system, is that as a result of all of the above, the amount of time spent by Americans and by the entire developed, if insolvent, world in front of the TV, is now at an all time high.

Here is Goldman's take on this phenomenon:

From a media perspective, older demographics watch more TV but advertisers are keener on younger audiences – in particular young males with disposable incomes. We believe that this could change, as older demographics are more tech savvy and engage with social media and innovations such as second screen applications. As targeted advertising becomes more widespread, advertisers may come to value older demographics more. BSkyB is in the process of implementing Ad-Smart, a targeted advertising service which marries subscriber data with bought-in public records and credit data. This should allow advertisers to serve different commercials to individual households.

There's that. And there is also the much simpler question of pure propaganda blasting at everyone 24/7 on some 1000 cable channels.


Some of the more stunning details from the BLS study:

Employed persons worked an average of 7.6 hours on the days they worked. More hours were worked, on average, on weekdays than on weekend days—7.9 hours compared with 5.5 hours.


On the days they worked, employed men worked 53 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women's greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women—8.3 hours compared with 7.7 hours.


On the days they worked, 83 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at their workplace and 23 percent did some or all of their work at home. They spent more time working at the workplace than at home—7.9 hours compared with 3.0 hours.


Multiple jobholders were more likely to work on an average day than were single jobholders— 77 percent compared with 67 percent.


Household Activities in 2013


On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours.


On an average day, 19 percent of men did housework—such as cleaning or doing laundry—compared with 49 percent of women. Forty-two percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women.


Leisure Activities in 2013


On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over (95 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (5.9 hours) than did women (5.2 hours).


Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 43 minutes per day.


Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a computer for leisure varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and over averaged 1.0 hour of reading per weekend day and 20 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 4 minutes per weekend day and spent 52 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure.

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Chippewa Partners's picture

Labor Force pool shrinking faster than Bill Clinton headed after an intern.

More SLEEPERS per capita than at anytime in history.

GEN SLEEPERS  coming up.     


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Labor Force pool shrinking faster than Bill Clinton headed after an intern."

So they really are justified in worrying about deflation?

economics9698's picture

Wake me up when the 138 IQ sociopaths and 85 IQ retards are out of power.

headhunt's picture

I do not think there are many 138 IQ's in government, some idiot savants maybe.

dryam's picture

"The data defies popular expectations. People say they're too busy for leisure and don't have time to sleep, but that seems not to be the case."

I'm not sure the above is the correct conclusion.

Those pulling the cart are sleeping less & less while working more and more. Those riding in the back are sleeping more and more and more simply not working at all. There are more and more people going from pulling to riding.

That sums up what's going on and some of the dichotomies in the above results

jbvtme's picture

i couldn't read the fine print on the pie chart. how many hours are spent gathering useless statistics like these?

Cleveland Steamer's picture

I believe you are on to something here. What working person is going to waste their time filling out one of these journals, other than the sociopaths and narcissists? The people most likely to fill out this journal would lead to these kind of results.

The International Jew's picture

The sad thing, for you non 140-iq retards, is that you will never choose to learn economics or the complexities of money, and therefore you will never be able to teach people how to stop the jewish domination.

Anusocracy's picture

Where's the time spent creating new fat cells?

MontgomeryScott's picture


'Fat cells'...

I didn't see how many hours (or minutes) are spent fucking, trying to pick up women (or men) at bars, or otherwise doing sexual activities (surfing the net looking at porn, for example). I suppose this might be equated with the 48 minutes a day used in 'personal care' (like masturbation, for instance).

How many hours a day are spent by the 'average American' getting in and out of electric wheelchairs at Walmart? How many hours a day are wasted sitting in traffic in cars? In the 3.48 hour workday, how many minutes or hours are ACTUALLY spent on bathroom breaks, obligated 15-minute breaks every two hours, lunch breaks, and spending time on the net surfing porn sites? How many minutes per day does the average person work to fulfiill the obligation of 'income taxes'?

I just got done working an average 47-hour week (sometimes, it is closer to 50). I spent the last 45 minutes putting away the meat and groceries at home, after spending an hour at the store buying the food I will eat for the next couple of weeks. I spent the last 10 minutes reading the article here, and the comments, and thinking of a response to an interesting one. I'll spend most of the day tomorrow working around the house (like mowing the pasture and the yard, doing laundry, mopping the floors, vacumming, and other miscellaneous shit).

If I both drink a beer while also posting a blog comment response, am I 'multi-tasking'? I don't see this category in the 'official chart' put out by USGOV.INC.

OH, by the way, I was tested heavily when I was a young child, in regards to the 'Intelligence Quotient' thingie. My parents never told me the results, until the last test (in the 8th grade), when they stated that they were disappointed that my 'I.Q' had dropped by 5 points, to 162 (according to the 'standard' at the time, the Stanford-Binney test). I missed the last question due to the fact that I had just got done reading 'Dove', by Robin Lee Graham, that was the tome describing a young man's solo circumnavigation of the globe in a boat very similar to the one that my family owned. He sailed 3/4ths of the way in a Lapworth 24, and we had an Islander Bahama 24, at the time). He stated that he had sailed 30,000  miles or so in this circumnavigation, and no one had informed me that the Earth's circumference was approximately 24 thousand miles (including the 'teachers' in 'school'), when they asked me the question.

The only part of my body that is 'fat' will not be shown to you. I prefer to call it 'thick' and 'long'. I have to get one of those electric carts at Wal-mart, just to hold this thing up so that it doesn't chafe on the pavement. I walk behind the electrocart, and it carries the REAL man, as I shop (I'm KIDDING, I don't REALLY shop there, except in desparation. Have you been there lately?).


NuckingFuts's picture

I did not see a column for getting wasted and reading ZH. I would say90% increase.

TVP's picture


It's a slow, steady grind to the bottom of ultimate serfdom.

What makes me giggle are people who work a job of labor all their lives in order to survive, all the while belieiving they are superior for having the chance to engage their work ethic.

Meanwhile hordes of welfare recipients (an increasing number of which are forced on welfare, and actually want to work very much) sit back and sleep and just hang out living off of sheeple labor, all the while believing they are superior for being leeches.  

It's incredible to witness how far a civilization can fall before caving in on itself.  

And we're not even anywhere NEAR the bottom yet...bottomless pit, that is.

Son of Loki's picture

Well, I'd like to work, but work makes my head hurt.

Headbanger's picture

Nahhh.. that drinking part has got to be a lot bigger!

But I guess we should be long Tempupedic


And Son of Loki:  Like that moniker as I enjoyed Norse mythology as a kid

And work just makes your blood pressure go way up so it can't be good for ya!


Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

"The drinking part should be a lot bigger"

Id say you can safely assume the drinking time and TV time are roughly the same.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

How high does your IQ have to be, to realize that the 138 IQ sociopaths are part of the Shadow Government (Deep State), whereas the Civil Service and visible figureheads are the sub-100 I class? By design.

CH1's picture

the 138 IQ sociopaths

They wish! Ruthless, yes, brilliant, no.

Midas's picture

I'm not sure of the accuracy of these numbers since I saw no time allotted to getting tattoos.  I know those take time and there seem to be quite a few out there.

U4 eee aaa's picture

Yes, but there is a guy working to put it on so maybe it averages out

Bemused Observer's picture

That reminds me, the military recently issued a strict tattoo policy for new recruits. At the same historical time when young people are getting tattooed and body-modified in the greatest numbers ever.
If they enforce it, the DOD's "class of 2015" is going to consist of three 18 year olds with unusually strict parents and a retired Baptist minister who got tricked into re-enlisting after answering a "You Have Won!" email notification...
Really, what were they thinking? People's GRANDMOTHERS have tattoos these days. Hell, THEIR own grandmothers probably have tattoos...Way to dry up your recruitment pool, why not ban pierced ears while you're at it? Or anyone who has chemically whitened their teeth or has ingrown pubic hairs from Brazilian waxes?...Is your Army translator really less efficient because he has a Celtic Cross on his forearm? One more fine, quality, high-level decision by the folks whose job it is to keep America safe. And they do the whole "Two birds with one stone" thing by also killing a significant job market for those young folks when the traditional markets fail to employ them, like now.
Wow...the ways in which high-level decisions are made, and the extent of the ways those decisions suck is just...epic. It's like they PLAN for things to be flops so they can profit from the suckers who 'invest' their trust in them, but that would be crazy-talk, almost like some kind of Mel Brooks movie or something...

U4 eee aaa's picture

Not to worry, the soldiers will all be robots soon enough anyway

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The TV has replaced marches and barricades.
Virtual lives and relationships have replaced real ones.
We're you expecting something else?

DoChenRollingBearing's picture



But, but, but...:

Where is the pie-chart slice for people wasting all their time at Zero Hedge???


Skateboarder's picture

Does ZH show you commercials of pills with suicidal/diarrheal/etc. side effects? (well, they probably do, but I use adblock)

You're right, however. It can be a time-sink past a certain information threshold.

MontgomeryScott's picture

I am getting ads from Thai women, Chinese women, South American women, and some weird Zionista site that seems to be in to the trend called 'speed-dating' (their catch-phrase is "Can you get her heart within two minutes?" If you have seen this particular ad, you might be interested to know and pay attention to the FACT that under the young lady's right breast is a blurred image of an unshaven woman's vagina and spread legs).

It beats the ads I WAS getting, when I was looking to buy a new string-trimmer. I suppose that they go in to 'default mode', after a certain amount of time.

It's funny, though. I don't seem to get ads about ammunition suppliers or such. I guess that men who purchase lead and brass are attractive to 20-something girls. according to 'Google Analytics'.

Oh, hell! If the funding of this website is lined with concubines who want sex, then I have the ability to laugh (and focus on the subjects at hand). They're actually fucking STUPID, you know (those ones who decide to target advertisements to an audience). Sluts who whore themselves to the ENTIRE FRACKING WORLD look good for a moment or two, but are not actually 'attractive' after they start to speak.

Here is a song that was actually recorded during a thunderstorm. Most people don't realize this fact. If you doubt the veracity of this statement, go to the library and check out 'No One Gets Out Alive'.





Headbanger's picture

I have an SKS, an AK-47, Vintovka Mosina and getting a Tokarev so at least I can SHOOT Russian!

MontgomeryScott's picture

I'll hold with 5.56 X 45 A.P. 62-grain. It works on ALL KINDS of targets.

I don't like those Ruskie/Eastern Euopean things. They seem to jamb and misfire often, and don't seem to be as accurate. They are significantly heavier (and thus harder to carry when running like hell), and have a kick-back that makes the second and third and subsequent aquisitions really hard to repeat. I don't give a shit about 'submergence reliability', because if I (AND MY PARTNER) are both submerged, we will BOTH drown.

You DO KNOW what 'A.P.' stands for, I suppose. The shit goes through 'Kevlar' (T.M.) and other substances like a knife through butter.


Small arms are highly overrated, I believe. after the E.M.P. weapons go off, and you are forced to resort to other means of survival, don't forget that THEY still have the capability to release nuclear weapons.



dexter_morgan's picture

I prefer the 7.62x54 personally

MontgomeryScott's picture

Yeah, the old .308 Remington was kind of nice.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Complete withdrawal is the sane solution; why bother working when it all is stolen for you one way or another?

Well, off for a nap.

NidStyles's picture

Take away any chance of a people of having a future and this is what will happen.

The Most Interesting Frog in the World's picture

Confirmation of a Communist society.

headhunt's picture

Actually the confirmation of communist take over is when the borders close.

Coming your way soon.

MontgomeryScott's picture

In 1971, after the Kissinger/Nixon presidency took the CONUS off of the Gold standard (because the French were trying to repatriate the gold that the CONUS had supposedly held in 'safe-keeping' during double ewe double ewe aye aye), the Anhauser/Busch company started to ramp up their television ads in the 'MSM' (which was, at that time in history, an infant; or at least a small child).

If 'THEY' track my purchases, regarding beer, they might find one THIS day. I am now drinking a beer and raising a glass to your insightful analysis of the way that popular trends are followed and used as predictors of economic crises. You aren't Gerald Celente, by chance, are you?

HERE is the 'original' Budweiser' Clydesdales television advertisement. It originated in 1971.

CHEERS, 'Euphoria'.

U4 eee aaa's picture

I'm not Celente but I'm probably just as cynical. ;)

Renewable Life's picture

You do not have to be awake that much to collect the smorgasbord of entitlement payments offered in America these days, EBT and auto deposit just accerlorated the madness!!
If your not working to survive or "advance" in society any more, WTF do you expect the average sheeple to do? Play video games/watch TV, eat free food, sleep, and fuck other like minded sheeple? It's what we do now as a society on a massive scale with no apologies, that's not to say there aren't millions of Americans not working hard and living righteous, balanced, free minded existences, it's just pointing out, WE are now in the mass minority, that's all!

headhunt's picture

I would suggest they are depressed.

I mean if you are out of work or retired trying to supplement your income with some sort of interest rate return or buying food or buying gas or paying the electric bill..., I think it may depress a lot of people. Oh yeah, then when they do wake up and turn on the TV, they see Reid, Pelosi and Obama yammering so most likely they go back to sleep.

Incubus's picture

herp derp let's all work for anyone willing to give a buck, no matter why.


just mememememememem


fucking boomers have the most idiotic life philosophies ever.  I care what my labor goes towards. 


What you're looking at is a generation of people who know that "a job" alone is not the path to salvation. 


You jackass boomers and your consumption culture enriched these kleptocratic assholes and allowed them to gut the entire fucking country and now you want me to work my ass off for your social security/medicare/miscellaneous entitlements?


I guess I will, because I am the poor fucker who's being taxed and working and going along with this.  Take this with my taxes: fuck you, I hope you choke slowly on it. Just please don't go to the hospital and run up a $10,000 medicare bill for it.

Skateboarder's picture

Most never realize the difference between work (energy expended to yield meaningful, fulfilling results to your consciousness) and a job (energy expended to yield monetary units, borne out of needing monetary units).

MontgomeryScott's picture


You sound like one of them 'YOUTS' in their 'JAMES DEAN' moment. Can you please turn down the sectarian blame for a moment, and focus on the LARGER issues?

DAMN, I thought you might consider the voice of reason, but it seems as though you are as stupid as you are made out to be on the MSM.


Thanks for your efforts, and keep paying your taxes ad infinitum. Don't forget to KEEP WORKING! I am as sure as the sun is yellow; that your mother's basement is awaiting your return. Don't worry, little one. We'll soon find those pesky WMD's. Lois Lerner really didn't e-mail ANYONE. I promise that I will just put the tip in. TRUST your Catholic priest to keep you sanctimonious and innocent of sexual sins. Radiation isn't harmful, because Anne Coulter said so.


Mr. Burns

Mike Ochisbent's picture

I call bullshit on this "study". Where is the commute time? Exactly. Not there. FAIL on all counts.

max2205's picture

The FSA doesn't get out of bed till 1pm

Senseless Urinal Cake's picture

What about books?  Doesn't anyone read anymore?

MontgomeryScott's picture

Farenheight measurement (of temperature) was named after the man who decided that 32 degrees was the freezing point of water, and 212 degrees was the boiling point of water. Farenheight 451 is the point at which paper spontaneously combusts. OF COURSE, most 'plastics' tend to melt below this threshold. I have in my possesion a Chinese-made 'big-display' calculator that I bought at the'Dollar Store' about 6 years ago. It was actually dependable, until the day when I left it in my vehicle last summer with the windows rolled up. The temperatures must have got to 140 Farenheight (I suppose this is like, um, eight hundred billion trillion degrees Mau Kelvin Global Choomster Centigrate Standard Kissinger ISO 9005, or something).

ANYWAY, this 'calculator' decided to start to transform in to a gooey mass of recycled plastics, and several of the keys changed shape (like the form of some weird serpentine death-knell from the East).

The melting point of 'GLD' paper and 'SLV' paper is? (This is a 'trick' question, and the answer is provided for you. Re-read the comment, and check the appropriate letter in the following spaces)

I have 'The Stand', in hardback edition, in my library. YES, I also have a PERSONAL LIBRARY, with shelves, and books, and stuff (as well as a dedicated room in the house). It's quite better than the 4-part telecast. Have you ever read this book? For those who don't actually READ anymore, I am providing a video link.

Whoever posted this link needs two cryllic or Thai words to say 'SORRY'. I can't find the 'english' version. It's like it was WIPED from the FACE OF THE EARTH.



trader1's picture

they also left out the category for "burying head into iDevice"