Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday made a proposal that may fail to gain widespread popularity.
In an interview with New Hampshire’s The Union Leader, Bush said that to grow the economy by 4%, “people need to work longer hours.”
The candidate’s campaign team said his comments were a reference to underemployed and part-time workers: “Under President Obama, we have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1977, and too many Americans are falling behind. Only Washington Democrats could be out-of-touch enough to criticize giving more Americans the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and make ends meet,” a Bush aide told ABC News. Bush’s opponents, meanwhile, used his remarks as a point of attack. The Democratic National Committee released a statement calling Bush’s statement “easily one of the most out-of-touch comments we’ve heard so far this cycle,” and citing them as proof that Bush would not fight for the middle class.
Bush’s remarks are a good opportunity to reexamine just how much Americans work. In short: a lot.
Americans logged 1,788 hours of work in 2013, one of the highest totals among industrialized nations, according to the report from tax and consulting firm EY in May found that 58% of managers in the U.S. say they work more than 40 hours a week. By comparison, just over a third of managers in the United Kingdom and just less than a fifth of managers in China said the same. In the U.S., close to one-third of managers reported an increase in hours in the past five years. A Gallup poll from last summer found that the average American works about 47 hours each week—nearly a full day longer than the traditional work week.