Why Do BLS Hours Series Tell Different Stories About Trends in Hours Worked?
Hours worked is an important economic indicator. In addition to being a measure of labor utilization, average weekly hours are inputs into measures of productivity and hourly wages, which are two key economic indicators. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ two hours series tell very different stories. Between 1973 and 2007 average weekly hours estimated from the BLS’s household survey (the Current Population Survey or CPS) indicate that average weekly hours of nonagricultural wage and salary workers decreased slightly from 39.5 to 39.3. In contrast, average hours estimated from the establishment survey (the Current Employment Statistics survey or CES) indicate that hours fell from 36.9 to 33.8 hours per week. Thus the discrepancy between the two surveys increased from about two-and-a-half hours per week to about five-and-a-half hours. Our goal in the current study is to reconcile the differences between the CPS and CES estimates of hours worked and to better understand what these surveys are measuring. We examine a number of possible explanations for the divergence of the two series: differences in workers covered, multiple jobholding, differences in the hours concept (hours worked vs. hours paid), possible overreporting of hours in CPS, and changes in the length of CES pay periods. We can explain most of the difference in levels, but cannot explain the divergent trends.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E. Room 2860, Washington, D. C. 20212|
Phone: (202) 606-5900
Fax: (202) 606-7890
Web page: http://www.bls.gov
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Katharine G. Abraham & James R. Spletzer & Jay C. Stewart, 1998. "Divergent Trends in Alternative Wage Series," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 293-325 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2007. "Where Does the Time Go? Concepts and Measurement in the American Time Use Survey," NBER Chapters, in: Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches, pages 73-97 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:sae:ilrrev:v:43:y:1990:i:3:p:121-133 is not listed on IDEAS
- Peter Kuhn & Fernando Lozano, 2005.
"The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours Among U.S. Men, 1979-2004,"
NBER Working Papers
11895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kuhn, Peter J. & Lozano, Fernando A., 2006. "The Expanding Workweek? Understanding Trends in Long Work Hours Among U.S. Men, 1979-2004," IZA Discussion Papers 1924, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Daniel S. Hamermesh & Harley Frazis & Jay Stewart, 2005. "Data Watch: The American Time Use Survey," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 221-232, Winter.
- James R. Spletzer & Katharine G. Abraham & Jay C. Stewart, 1999. "Why Do Different Wage Series Tell Different Stories?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 34-39, May.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1988. "Shirking or Productive Schmoozing: Wages and the Allocation of Time at Work," NBER Working Papers 2800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec100010. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gregory Kurtzon)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.