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October 1998, Vol. 121, No. 10

How hours of work affect occupational earnings

Daniel Hecker

Analysis of long-term trends in hours of work has shown that a large proportion of full-timers in some major occupational groups put in long hours, and that persons working long hours generally have higher earnings.1 Do the high earnings associated with longer workweeks simply reflect the greater number of hours worked, or is there a more basic difference between jobs that demand (or encourage) long workweeks and those that do not? In an article in the April 1997 issue of the Review, BLS analysts Philip L. Rones, Jennifer Gardner, and Randy E. Ilg noted that professional and managerial workers had both higher earnings and longer hours than did workers in other occupational groups, and suggested that some of the earnings difference might be due to the considerable responsibility associated with professional and managerial jobs. This article takes a more in-depth look at the relationship between hours and earnings, with a focus on detailed occupations.

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1 Philip L. Rones, Jennifer Gardner, and Randy E. Ilg, "Trends in hours of work since the mid-1970’s," Monthly Labor Review, April 1997, pp. 3–14. See also G.H. Moore and J.N. Hedges, "Trends in labor and leisure," Monthly Labor Review, February 1971, pp. 3–11.

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