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Visualizing Annual Working Hours in OECD Countries

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Average annual working hours OECD

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Visualizing Annual Working Hours in OECD Countries

Comparing the number of hours people work in different countries can provide insight into cultural work norms, economic productivity, and even labor laws.

With this in mind, we’ve ranked OECD countries (plus a few others) based on their average annual hours worked. Note that this data includes both full-time and part-time workers.

Data and Highlights

The data we sourced from OECD is listed in the table below. All figures are as of 2021 (latest available), with the exception of Colombia, Russia, and Türkiye which are as of 2020.

CountryAverage annual
hours worked
🇲🇽 Mexico2,128
🇨🇷 Costa Rica2,073
🇨🇴 Colombia1,964
🇨🇱 Chile1,916
🇰🇷 South Korea1,910
🇲🇹 Malta*1,882
🇷🇺 Russia*1,874
🇬🇷 Greece1,872
🇷🇴 Romania*1,838
🇭🇷 Croatia*1,835
🇵🇱 Poland1,830
🇺🇸 United States1,791
🇮🇪 Ireland1,775
🇪🇪 Estonia1,767
🇨🇿 Czech Republic1,753
🇮🇱 Israel1,753
🇨🇾 Cyprus*1,745
🇳🇿 New Zealand1,730
🌐 OECD average1,716
🇭🇺 Hungary1,697
🇦🇺 Australia1,694
🇨🇦 Canada1,685
🇮🇹 Italy1,669
🇵🇹 Portugal1,649
🇪🇸 Spain1,641
🇱🇹 Lithuania1,620
🇧🇬 Bulgaria*1,619
🇯🇵 Japan1,607
🇱🇻 Latvia1,601
🇸🇮 Slovenia1,596
🇸🇰 Slovakia1,583
🇹🇷 Türkiye1,572
🇨🇭 Switzerland1,533
🇫🇮 Finland1,518
🇬🇧 United Kingdom1,497
🇧🇪 Belgium1,493
🇫🇷 France1,490
🇸🇪 Sweden1,444
🇦🇹 Austria1,442
🇮🇸 Iceland1,433
🇳🇴 Norway1,427
🇳🇱 Netherlands1,417
🇱🇺 Luxembourg1,382
🇩🇰 Denmark1,363
🇩🇪 Germany1,349

*Non-OECD country

At the top is Mexico, where the average worker clocks over 2,000 hours per year. This reflects the country’s labor dynamics, which typically involves a six-day workweek. For context, 2,128 hours is equal to 266 eight-hour workdays.

The only other country to surpass 2,000 annual hours worked per worker is Costa Rica, which frequently tops the World Economic Forum’s Happy Planet Index (HPI). The HPI is a measure of wellbeing, life expectancy, and ecological footprint.

Looking at the other end of the list, the two countries that work the fewest hours are Germany and Denmark. This is reflective of the strong labor laws in these countries as well as their emphasis on work-life balance.

For example, the German Working Hours Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) states that daily hours of work may not exceed eight hours. Days can be extended to 10 hours, but only if it averages out to eight hours per working day over a six-month period.

Working fewer hours doesn’t mean that a country is becoming less productive, though. Germany is known for its high value industries like automotive and pharmaceuticals, where robotics and other technologies can greatly enhance productivity.

This is supported by GDP per capita, in which Germany has grown substantially since 2000.

Limitations of this Data

A limitation of this dataset is that it aggregates both full-time and part-time workers. This means that in a country like Japan, where almost 40% of the workforce is non-regular (part-time, contract, etc.), the average figure could be skewed downwards.

Japan is known for its grueling office culture, and it’s likely that many workers are logging significantly more hours than the 1,607 figure reported.

If you enjoy comparisons like these, consider taking a look at our ranking of cities with the best work-life balance.

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Economy

Mapped: Unemployed Workers vs. Job Openings, by U.S. State

On average, there are 75 workers available for every 100 job openings across the country. Here’s how it varies by state.

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map showing best U.S. states for jobs

Mapped: Unemployed Workers vs. Job Openings, by U.S. State

In the United States, there were about 75 workers available for every 100 job openings as of July 2023. This means there is a significant gap between labor and jobs available, but also many opportunities present in some states for potential job seekers.

This map, using data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, showcases the number of available workers per 100 job openings in each U.S. state.

Note: Available workers are unemployed workers who are in the labor force but do not have a job, have looked for one in the previous four weeks, and are currently able and available to work. Job openings are simply all unfulfilled positions that offer available work.

Workers and Job Openings by State

The below table lists out the number of unemployed workers per 100 jobs in every state.

Higher ratios, such as 110 workers per 100 job openings, mean there is more competition for each job opening in that state. Lower ratios suggest that it is harder to find workers in a given state.

RankStateAvailable Workers per 100 Job Openings
#T1California110.0
#T1New York110.0
#3New Jersey108.0
#4Connecticut102.0
#5Washington101.0
#6Nevada98.0
#7Texas89.0
#8Pennsylvania88.0
#9Michigan85.0
#10Hawaii79.0
#11Oregon77.0
#12Arizona76.0
#13Illinois75.0
#T14Indiana74.0
#T14Rhode Island74.0
#16Delaware72.0
#17Kentucky66.0
#18Ohio65.0
#T19Alaska63.0
#T19New Mexico63.0
#21Wyoming61.0
#22Louisiana60.0
#T23Florida59.0
#T23Kansas59.0
#T25Missouri58.0
#T25West Virginia58.0
#T27Georgia57.0
#T27Iowa57.0
#T29Idaho56.0
#T29Tennessee56.0
#T31District of Columbia55.0
#T31Mississippi55.0
#T31North Carolina55.0
#T34Colorado54.0
#T34Minnesota54.0
#36South Carolina53.0
#37Wisconsin52.0
#38Virginia51.0
#T39Maine50.0
#T39Oklahoma50.0
#41Utah48.0
#42Montana46.0
#43Alabama45.0
#T44Arkansas44.0
#T44Massachusetts44.0
#T44Vermont44.0
#47New Hampshire41.0
#48Maryland40.0
#49Nebraska40.0
#50North Dakota35.0
#51South Dakota35.0
U.S. Total 75.0

While states like New Jersey and California have more workers that they know what to do with, states like North Dakota have a 0.35 ratio of people to jobs, potentially tipping the balance of power to job seekers.

Over the last three years, job openings have increased the most in the state of Georgia, where there were only 0.57 people available for every open role in July. But despite growth in open positions, unemployment has hardly changed over the last year, wavering around 3%.

The Reason for the Gap

“If every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have 4 million open jobs.”– U.S. Chamber of Commerce

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the main driver of the current labor shortage was the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing more than 100,000 businesses to close temporarily and resulting in millions losing their jobs.

Subsequent government support for those who lost work and other subsidies made it easier for people to stay home and out of the workforce. A Chamber of Commerce survey found that 1-in-5 people have changed their work style since the pandemic, with 17% having retired, 19% having transitioned to a homemaker role, and another 14% working only part time.

The industries with the highest unemployment rates are also those that have added the most jobs, with leisure and hospitality experiencing the highest rates (5.1%) just ahead of wholesale and retail trade (4.4%).

Overall, though the job marker has started to cool somewhat, hiring is still outpacing quit rates. The national quit rate in July 2023 was 3.8%, compared to a hiring rate of 4%. And with 9.8 million job openings in the U.S., there should be ample opportunities for job seekers.

Where does this data come from?

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Notes/Definitions: Hire rates are calculated by dividing the number of hires by employment and multiplying that quotient by 100. Quit rates are calculated by estimating the number of quits for a reference period, then dividing quits by employment and multiplying by 100. The labor force participation rate is the share of the population that is either working or actively looking for work.  Unemployment rates are calculated as the share of the labor force that is unemployed. 

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