New Support for the "Focused 5"

I just finished reading the latest “Science News” magazine and found an article titled, “Longer Work Hours May Warm Climate”. The first part of this article that caught my attention was a reference to a new study stating Europeans work 16% less than Americans, with no change in productivity. It says that Americans work 1,817 hours per year, where Europeans work 1,560 and have more vacation. Again, with no difference in productivity!

Though the article doesn’t rally for shorter workdays, it does state that longer hours result in increased power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. With the “Focused 5” concept, individuals would work 1,300 hours a year. I wonder what would happen to productivity? I know power consumption and carbon dioxide emissions would go down.

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One Response to “New Support for the "Focused 5"”

  1. cherubin says:

    Productivity is actually a growth statistic and is measured quartery. US productivity growth outstrips that of the European Union.

    The most interesting thing concerning U.S. productivity is the effect, or lack of, on unemployment. The common sense conclusion would be an increase of unemploment as productivity increases. (In theory, as workers become more productive less are needed to accomplish the same tasks). That is not the case. Recent U.S. productivity growth has fluctuated between 1.5% and 3%. Meanwhile U.S unemployment is at a low 4.5%.

    The environmental impact of a shortened work week can be debated. However, an economic impact appears obvious. The EU has an overall unemployment rate of 8.8%. Germany is at 9.6% and France at 9.8%. Of the large European economies, only the UK has a healthy unemployment rate of 4.6%. Ironically, they work the most hours compared to the other two.

    Maybe productivity is not what we should be looking at. The US and European GDPs are nearly identical at about $12.5 Trillion. However, the EU has a population 50% greater than that of the US. The net effect is an EU per capita GDP of about $28K versus a US per capita GDP of about $41K. It is this economic freedom that allows us the purchasing power we have, and the generosity for which we are known.

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