New Yorkers Spend More Time Working and Commuting Than Anyone Else in the U.S.

March 18, 2015 | Liam Mathews

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer examined Census data and confirmed that full-time workers in New York have a longer average workweek than their counterparts in 29 other American cities, according to Crain’s. The average New York workweek, from CEO to security guard, totals 49 hours. That includes commute time. The biggest reason for the extended workweek, Stringer says, is due to New Yorkers’ long commutes, which average 6 hours and 18 minutes per week — two hours longer than the national average.

In a statement, Stringer called for expansion of the city’s transit networks and a more modern approach to workday logistics:

“New York is America’s hardest working city, but it’s a one-two punch for lower wage workers, who get paid less and travel longer to get to work,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement. “This means employees in the Big Apple get paid less than it appears on an hourly basis, because their commutes are significantly greater than anyone else in the country. New Yorkers are dedicated, ambitious and tough, but to compete in the 21st century we need to expand our transit networks and advance policies like flexible work arrangements and predictable scheduling.”

The long workweek has a disproportionately negative effect on low-wage workers like security guards and home health aides, Stringer says. They cannot afford to live near where they work, so their commutes are longer than even other New Yorkers’. Security guards report commute times upwards of 8 hours per week. Chief executives, physicians, and surgeons report some of the shortest commutes. Stringer also reports that women in New York are less likely to return to work after having children than women in other cities.

Of course, many ambitious New Yorkers take a perverse sort of pride in how long and hard they work, even seen as a status symbol in industries like finance. And working a lot remains necessary in a city where the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,000.

(Photo: The All-Nite Images)