The Definitive List of the Hardest Working Cities in the U.S.

March 5th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

If you had to guess what cities in the U.S. work the hardest, you would probably turn to the large, urban centers such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But based on data from WalletHub, the most labor-intensive cities are actually located in some of the more remote regions of the country.

Americans work about 47 hours per week on average — about seven hours longer than what's considered the standard workweek — but that's not the only metric that analysts use to judge labor trends in the U.S. There's also the labor force participation, the number of workers who juggle multiple jobs, and commute time for example. When you take those factors into consideration, the map of American labor looks something like this:

Source: WalletHub

The hardest working city in the U.S. is Anchorage, Alaska, followed by Virginia Beach, Virgina, and Plano, Texas. The first "major" city on the list show up in the seventh slot: San Francisco.


"According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, we work far more hours than our German, Scandinavian, French, Swiss, Italian, Japanese, British, and Australian counterparts," TIME reports. "We retire later and take less vacations, too."

But just because we work more, that doesn't necessarily mean that the American workforce is more productive. James Heskett, a professor of business logistics at Harvard Business School, points to countries such as France, where the average workweek falls closer to 35 hours per week and where productivity is on par with the U.S.

"In spite of contrary evidence, there is still a popular belief that working more hours produces more results," Heskett writes. "People too often assume that being 'at work' is equivalent to 'work.' Americans are reluctant to be seen engaging in activities on the job that are not perceived as work while 'working' in ways that are non-productive."

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