The Outcomes of the 2020 American Time Use Survey


by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE

“Suspect every second, for it’s a thief, tiptoeing away with greater than it brings.”—John Updike, American novelist

Since 2003, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has launched the outcomes of the earlier 12 months’s American Time Use Research (ATUS) throughout the next June or July. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic was time’s biggest thief in 2020. Along with stealing time from American staff, the pandemic affected ATUS interviews all 12 months lengthy. None happened from March 19 to mid-Might. Consequently, the 2020 ATUS is lacking knowledge for 2 months… however that doesn’t imply the info collected had been ineffective. Removed from it.


The obvious distinction this 12 months isn’t any actual shock. The variety of individuals working at residence practically doubled in 2020, as COVID-19 compelled employers to both shut down or enable their staff to telework, utilizing expertise and methodologies they’d beforehand prevented or underutilized. New expertise and elevated familiarity with Zoom, Skype, and different applications made “homework” a larger success than ever earlier than. Typically, when there’s no different selection, Individuals step up and never simply make one thing work, however excel at it. This was a type of instances.

Within the 10 months surveyed in 2020, in the course of the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the variety of individuals working from residence on days they labored shot up from 22% to 42%. Males spent a mean of 36% of worktime working from residence, up from 20% in 2019, whereas ladies pulled off a whopping 49%, rising from 26% in 2019. In the meantime, commuting and different journey time (retailer visits, holidays, and so on.) dropped considerably throughout all demographic teams, together with each staff and non-workers. As a reminder—or in case you’ve by no means reviewed ATUS knowledge—ATUS samples all demographic teams aged 15 and above. This consists of full-time college students, most of whom don’t work, in addition to the retired, the homeless, and people who select to not work, together with homemakers and full-time dad and mom. That stated, tens of millions of residents had been additionally out of labor as a result of threat of contagion and the necessity to keep social distancing. A median of 39% of the inhabitants labored in 2020, versus 43% in 2019.

This sharp enhance within the jobless charge resulted within the common time spent at work on workdays dropping by about 17 minutes, from 7.7 hours in 2019 to 7.6 hours in 2020. Some may discover it odd that these numbers don’t fairly attain the usual eight hours per day, however hold this in thoughts: “employed individuals” consists of each full-time staff and part-time staff. Some people labored greater than eight hours on a most days, some much less. Common time labored at residence per day rose from 3.6 hours in 2019 to five.8 hours a day in 2020. A part of the disparity within the numbers between these beforehand recorded was that the 7.6 hours had been for the typical workday, whereas the 5.8 hours had been for all days, whether or not workdays or not, together with weekends and holidays.

These Individuals in a position to work in 2020 labored as exhausting as ever, although their numbers had been down considerably. The variety of full-time staff was 130,087,000 in 2019; in 2020, the quantity fell to 120,949,000, a drop of 9,138,000 staff. Over 9 million keen full-time staff had been unemployed in the course of the pandemic. The variety of part-time staff decreased by 2,034,000, from 36,823,000  to 34,789,000. Subsequently, at the very least 11,172,000 staff had been out of labor in 2020.

Taking It Straightforward

Everyone knows what we did with our leisure time in 2020: we stayed residence. Nonetheless, home-based leisure actions had been up solely barely. We spent about 32 minutes extra per day on leisure actions in 2020 than we did in 2019, possible reflecting the 26 minutes per day now not spend commuting to work, the lower in day by day work-time, and the truth that leisure actions are simpler to entry at residence. Most of us most well-liked to look at TV and play pc video games.

Many people had no selection however to extend our leisure-time actions, as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns and, in lots of instances, lack of labor. Whereas some trades loved extra work, and plenty of made the transition to home-based work, some couldn’t, as they required work exterior the house (for instance, retail shops and development). The stats that present us working much less final 12 months whereas taking part in a bit extra end result solely from the pandemic and the measures taken to sluggish it. I think most staff would a lot relatively have been working than staying residence, looking for issues to do.

© 2021 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling creator, and famous authority on worker and group productiveness. She is the president of The Productiveness Professional, Inc., an organization devoted to serving to leaders enhance office efficiency in high-stress environments. Stack has authored eight books, together with FASTER TOGETHER: Accelerating Your Staff’s Productiveness (Berrett-Koehler 2018). She is a previous president of the Nationwide Audio system Affiliation, and a member of its unique Speaker Corridor of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s shoppers embody Cisco Programs, Wal-Mart, and Financial institution of America, and she or he has been featured on the CBS Early Present and CNN, and within the New York Instances. To have Laura Stack converse at an upcoming assembly or occasion, name 303-471-7401 or contact us on-line.

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