An Iowa State University economist analyzed U.S. Labor Department data to try to answer the question of who works harder, the husband or the wife? Wallace Huffman’s study looked at work done in the marketplace, and at home. He says men spend the larger share of their time in the marketplace, and while women have reduced the amount of time they spend on housework, it’s still more than men. So, Huffman says women spend less time working outside the home than men.
Huffman says married men work an average of 54.5 hours per week and women work 51.6. Huffman says overall, married couples work more hours than unmarried. Huffman says that’s probably due in part to the fact that married couples often have children. Huffman says married couples with children tend to have bigger homes that require more maintenance and other work. While, he says unmarried couples often live in apartments or condos that don’t require things like yard work.
Since both groups are working at least 45 hours per week, Huffman urges everyone to seek more vacation time. "It’s important that you actually get away for awhile, one or two weeks at a time, rather than just taking weekends," Huffman says.
Huffman says weekend time off is not the same as having one or two weeks off, as the longer breaks give you more time to clear you mind and get deeply involved in things outside work. Technology has made it tougher for some people to get away from the office. He says cellphones and pages seem to put people on call 24-hours a day, seven-days a week, 365 days a year. Huffman says laptop computers are used at your own initiative, and make it easier to manage without disrupting your time off. Huffman says it’s tough to says overall whether men or women are overworked.
Huffman says the husband and wives both do very important things and there’s evidence that the time for leisure activities has gone up 10 hours a week. Even so, Huffman says people still tend to feel "rushed," which he attributes to the value of your time going up. Huffman both studies and teaches labor economics and just completed a research paper on the changing structure of U.S. household production over the post-World War II period.