Backstory: Office hours by the numbers

After a Labor Day weekend of biking and barbecues, Americans head back to their cubicles Tuesday. Here's a statistical snapshot of the US workforce.


151 million people make up the American labor force. Among them are:

6.8 million teachers

827,000 farmers and ranchers

738,000 hairstylists and cosmetologists

317,000 chefs

291,000 taxi drivers and chauffeurs

243,000 firefighters

213,000 musicians, singers, and related

212,000 athletes, coaches, and sport-related

98,000 gambling services workers

64,000 reporters and news analysts

Clocking in

7.5 million Americans juggle more than one job.

294,000 workers hold down two full-time jobs.

28 percent of workers clock more than 40 hours a week.

8 percent work more than 60 hours a week.

4 is the median number of years Americans have worked for their current employer.

10 percent have stayed with their current employer for 20 or more years.

62.2 percent of mothers work while raising a child under the age of 6. About 78 percent of moms with kids between ages 6 and 17 work.

Phoenix rising

105,500 jobs were created in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Ariz., between September 2004 and September 2005, the largest job market jump among the nation's largest counties.

Wage gap

$41,386 is the annual median earnings for men working full time in 2005.

$31,858 is what women received, 77 cents on the dollar compared with men.

$30,858 is the median income for a home with a Hispanic head of household, 63 cents on the dollar compared with homes with a white head of household.

$61,094 is the median income for a home with an Asian-American head of the household, 25 cents more on every dollar compared with homes with a white head of household.

$55,994 is the average income for workers in the District of Columbia, topping the nation.

$21,439 is the average income for workers in Louisiana, the lowest in the nation.

Watchful eye

71 percent of companies with more than 500 employees monitor office e-mail and Web surfing. About half of companies with 50 to 249 workers monitor Web use.

Bring a snack

25.1 minutes was the average daily commute to work in 2005.

38.3 minutes was the average commute for workers in New York City – the highest among major American cities in 2003, ahead of Chicago (33.2 minutes) and Newark, N.J. (31.5 minutes).

87.6 percent of Americans drove to work in 2005, up from 64 percent in 1960.

10.6 percent of the workforce carpooled to the office in 2005 versus 19.7 percent in 1980.

4.6 percent of workers took public transportation in 2005 – down from 6.4 percent in 1980 and 12.1 percent in 1960.

2 percent of workers nationwide have a commute longer than 90 minutes.

7 hours is how long it takes Cisco System electrical engineer Dave Givens for a round trip to work. Mr. Givens, who's made the 372-mile commute from Mariposa, Calif., to San Jose and back five days a week since 1989, won the Midas Inc. award for "America's Longest Commute" last April.

4.7 million people work from home.

I won't be in

Most popular reasons for missing work:

1. Personal illness – 35 percent

2. Family issues – 21 percent

3. Personal needs –18 percent

4. Felt they deserved a day off – 14 percent

5. Stress – 12 percent

State of the unions

15.6 million Americans were members of a union in 2005. That represents 12.5 percent of the workforce, down from the 20.1 percent that paid dues in 1983.

26.1 percent of New York State residents belong to a union, the highest in the US.

2.3 percent of South Carolinians are union members, the lowest amount.

Top paying jobs (average)

Surgeons – $181,850

Chief executives – $140,880

Pilots and flight engineers – $134,090

Dentist – $132,660

Lawyers – $110,590

Low paying jobs (average)

Fast-food cooks – $15,230

Waiters – $15,980

Gaming dealer – $16,210

Amusement park attendant – $16,730

Farm worker – $17,110

View from the corner office

35 percent of middle- and senior-managers say they've "missed an important event in their child's life" because of work.

33 percent have "missed a birthday or anniversary dinner with their spouse."

22 percent admit they "would fire a good friend in order to get ahead at work."

40 percent of managers would rather accept a $10,000 bonus if it was the largest among his colleagues, compared with 59 percent who would rather receive a $20,000 bonus, even if it's the smallest among his colleagues.

Sticky fingers

Percentage of employees who swipe the following items from the office for personal use.

1. Pen/pencils – 60 percent

2. Post-its – 40 percent

3. Envelopes – 32 percent

4. Notepads – 28 percent

5. Paper – 28 percent

Sources: US Census Bureau, USA Today, Forbes, Midas Inc., BusinessWeek, OfficeTeam, Booz Allen Hamilton, Vault, CIA World Fact Book, NPD Group, Mens Dress Furnishings Association.

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