Chart: Americans More Leisurely in Recession Aftermath

Post-recession Americans work less, and watch more TV

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Where does the time go? Americans may continue to ponder this question endlessly but today there is an answer: compared to the pre-economically troubled days of 2007 we spend more time watching TV, sleeping, and eating and drinking than we used to. And we spend a whole lot less time on average working. All of this is according to new information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

The chart above depicts the shift in minutes given to various everyday activities since 2007. The big drop is the 25 minute gap between the amount of time we worked on average in 2007 compared to now (4:24/day), although this is probably more a reflection of current numbers of unemployment and under-employment, than it is of full-time working folks working less. Meanwhile, the average American spends two and a half hours watching TV a day.

As to what it all means? Some economists, at least, are very disappointed, according to the Journal.

After the recession left millions jobless, some economists said they hoped that in lieu of work, Americans would spend more time on productive activities, such as volunteering or exercise, said Princeton economist Alan Krueger. But so far, that hasn't materialized, he said.

"Last year continued to show the effects of the weak economy," Mr. Krueger said. "The amount of time spent watching T.V. and other nonproductive activities remains extraordinarily high."

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