Earth to Jeb Bush: Americans Already Work more Hours than Employees in Japan and Germany

Saturday, July 11, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Wednesday on the campaign trail that “people need to work longer hours.” It might come as a surprise to someone like Bush who grew up amid family wealth, but American workers already put in longer hours than those in economic engines such as Germany and Japan.


According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, U.S. workers put in 1,789 hours of labor each year. That’s more than Japan (1,729) or Germany (1,371) but behind Mexico (2,228) and Russia (1,985).


The Democrats immediately responded, with Hillary Clinton tweeting “Anyone who believes Americans aren’t working hard enough hasn’t met enough American workers,” according to BBC News.


Bush’s camp fought back, explaining that the candidate meant that many people who are now in part-time jobs would like to be working full time. And there’s some truth in that, but it ignores the several chances Republicans had during the Great Recession that started under the George W. Bush administration to approve infrastructure spending that would have kickstarted the economy. Instead, the GOP sat on its hands, hoping their inaction would hurt President Obama’s re-election chances.


Unfortunately, working longer hours is about the only way to get a raise. Although U.S. workers’ productivity rose 25% from 2000 to 2012, their wages remained flat, according to ThinkProgress. Instead, all that money is going into investors’ pockets.


Part of the reason is the waning of unions’ influence. Fewer workers are represented by unions than have been in decades and wages are stagnating as a result.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Jeb Bush: Americans ‘Need to Work Longer Hours’ (by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News)

Mind the Gaffe: What’s Missing From The Media Scrum Over Bush’s Call To ‘Work Longer Hours’ (by Alan Pyke, ThinkProgress)

House Republicans Pass Employer-Supported Bill Changing Definition of “Full-Time Worker” from 30 Hours to 40 Hours (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Members of Congress Get Paid Well for 28-Hour Work Week (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment