Economic Find: Take Back Your Time

It has become extraordinarily difficult to make ends meet these days and most households with children need parents working in the labor market.  The dramatic increase in married women’s participation in recent decades (see Economic Find: Women in the Labor Force) has increased household incomes but also crunched the time available for family care and overall relaxation.

In 1968, two spouses worked a total of less than 55 hours of paid work per week.  In 2002, that number went up to 65 hours per week.  Parents struggle to balance their work and family responsibilities (sometimes including elder care).  Almost 75% of working adults say they have no control over their work schedules.  Part-time jobs usually don’t pay very well and usually lack any benefits. And those people with full-time jobs are often required to work beyond 40 hours a week.

To push back against our constant feeling of being overstressed and overworked, activists have established Take Back Your Time Day, held on October 24th each year, which is nine weeks before the end of the year to symbolize that Americans work nine weeks more each year than our trans-Atlantic neighbors.  Take Back Your Time has also put forth a broad policy agenda, listed below, to give relief to the “time poverty” felt by so many people.

Take Back Your Time
Created by CPE Member Economist Sue Holmberg

November 2011


Based on the 2006 Field Guide to the U.S. Economy. “Time Crunch.” 3.12: 50.