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June 2005
Vol. 6, no. 6

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Whither the workweek?
Diane Galarneau, Jean-Pierre Maynard and Jin Lee

  • Changes in hours worked normally track employment changes very closely. Recently, however, employment has increased more than hours, resulting in an unprecedented gap. In effect, annual hours worked have decreased by the equivalent of two weeks for every worker.
  • A closer examination shows that more than half of the drop in the average workweek was attributable to Labour Force Survey methodology.
  • Even after adjustment, hours worked still show a drop—but only one week annually per employee instead of two weeks.
  • Two-thirds of the drop in adjusted hours comes from a rise in hours lost for reasons other than statutory holidays. An increase in part-time work explains 20% of the drop.

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Diane Galarneau is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. She can be reached at (613) 951-4626, Jean-Pierre Maynard and Jin Lee are with the Micro-economic Studies and Analysis Division. Jean-Pierre Maynard can be reached at (613) 951-3654 and Jin Lee at (613) 951-1174. All authors can be reached at

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