It’s (Unscientifically) True: New Yorkers Do Work Harder

New Yorkers
Some of these people work harder than you. Photo: Photos: Lucy Tang and Josie Swindler


On Friday morning, the federal government released data indicating that the average American workweek in February was 33.7 hours. Obviously, they didn’t ask many New Yorkers. Or did they? On Friday afternoon, we surveyed twenty locals about the length of their workweeks and found that not everyone works harder than the national average — just most people. Seven people worked fewer hours (a babysitter, a medical secretary, and a school psychologist among them), and thirteen worked harder, including a high-school teacher, a home health aide, and a newsstand operator. All of the respondents thought their fellow New Yorkers worked longer hours than the national average, even if they themselves did not. On the low end, a student-model worked fifteen hours a week. The newsstand operator clocked the most weekly hours, with 72. So what did these people have to say about their jobs?

Work Hard
The average national workweek was 33.7 hours in February. Do you work more or less?
More: 13; less: 7

Do New Yorkers work harder?
Yes: 19; no: 1
Why?
“The pay’s not enough.” “I have three children who are students. It’s an emergency for me to work.” “We like to look busy.” “Not harder, just not as efficiently. We have meetings about meetings!”

Do you wish you lived elsewhere in America?
Yes: 1; no: 19
Why?
“Oh God! Negative 50 percent no.” “No way. It’s toooooo slooooow.” “I’m moving to Seattle. There’s no income tax there.”

New York Workweek
If you worked only 33.7 hours a week, what would do with the rest of your time?
“Get another job.” “Get more sleep.” “I’m sure there’d be some guilt.” “Spend it with my family — I have three teenage boys at home.” “Get in trouble.”

—Reported by Josie Swindler and Lucy Tang