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Working short or long hours

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In 2008, two-fifths of employed Canadians age 25 and over worked either short hours or long hours at their main job. One in seven workers put in at least 50 hours per week, while just over one-quarter (26.4%) worked less than 30 hours. These are actual hours worked by individuals who were at work during the reference week of the Labour Force Survey.

Over three-quarters (76%) of all workers putting in 50 hours or more on the job were men. The majority of those working less than 30 hours were women (63%).

Nearly one-fifth (17%) of men worked 50 hours or more at their main job. These men were more likely to work in construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, as well as professional, scientific and technical services.  Among women, 39% worked less than 30 hours per week at their main job, and they were heavily concentrated in the service sector, namely health care and social assistance, trade, education, and accommodation and food services.

Chart - Proportion of employed individuals working short or long hours1

Chart - Proportion of employed individuals working short or long hours

1. Hours actually worked by workers age 25 and over during the survey reference week.
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

Between 2007 and 2008, the number of workers putting in at least 50 hours per week fell by 3.2%, while those working less than 30 hours saw their number increase by 3.4%. The number of men working less than 30 hours per week increased 4.4%, compared with 2.8% for women.

From October 2008 to October 2009, the number of adult Canadians (age 25 and over) working at least 50 actual hours per week fell by almost 112,000 from 1.4 million (or -8.1%), while those working less than 30 hours saw their number increase by almost 99,000 (+2.0%). 

Table - Proportion of employed individuals working short or long hoursTable - Proportion of employed individuals working short or long hours

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