Cities with the Most Hours in a Work Week

Who puts in the longest hours? Who has the longest commute? New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer says in a survey that it’s New York.

How long is your work week? In a report from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York tops out at a 49.08-hour work week, followed by San Francisco, at 48.58. The results are no surprise to Blake Thibault, managing director of Heffernan Retirement Services, PLANADVISER’s 2015 Plan Adviser Team of the Year.

In fact, Thibault—who drives an average three hours a day to his office in downtown San Francisco—would welcome a commute of 4.57 hours a week. He calls a 1-1/2-hour drive a good commute. The distance from home to office? Nineteen miles.

If there is an upside to a long commute, Thibault tells PLANADVISER it forces him to plan his day more creatively. “If you’re meeting with clients, it’s more challenging to maximize your working hours when you have to plan for being an hour or more on the road,” he says.

Thibault draws on a grab bag of techniques to combat the commute, from coming in earlier on days when he wants to get home for his kids’ sporting events, to listening to books on tape, and using car time to make client calls, or listen to TED talks and podcasts.

Evidence suggests that New York City residents work longer hours than those of other major cities, Stringer’s report says, with long work weeks especially common in certain professions. Staffers in the finance sector, on average, work the longest work weeks. New Yorkers also have longer average commutes than residents of any other major city. The combined hours give New Yorkers the longest work week of anyone in the country.

In addition to actual work time, all American full-time workers, on average, spend about 25 minutes getting both to and from work each way, for a weekly total commuting time of 4 hours, 11 minutes. The average weekly commuting time for all full-time workers has been growing consistently, increasing by almost one-half hour since 1990. In 2013, the combined work and commuting week for U.S. full-time civilian workers was 47 hours. In the ten cities with the longest work week, the number hovers between 47.23 and 49.08 hours.

The Comptroller’s Office evaluated usual work hours and commuting time in the 30 largest cities in the U.S. Overall, full-time workers in those cities work about three minutes fewer per week, on average, than workers elsewhere in America, but they spend about 10 minutes more commuting. The difference in the length of the combined work week between the big cities and the rest of the country may seem trivial, but the averages mask considerable variation among those cities themselves.

The ten longest weeks in the U.S., combining hours worked and commute time are:

  1. New York: 49.08
  2. San Francisco: 48.58
  3. Washington: 48.39
  4. Houston: 48.18
  5. Fort Worth, Texas: 48.01
  6. Chicago: 48.01
  7. Boston: 47.36
  8. Charlotte, North Carolina: 47.35
  9. Baltimore: 47.25
  10. Seattle: 47.23