Do you feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do what you really want to do? Well, maybe you actually do, according to a time use survey released by the U.S. Labor Department recently. This survey, discussed last week in the Wall Street Journal, suggested that you are gaining more free time, but are devoting most of it to leisure rather than choosing activities like learning new skills or working out.
Compared to the last survey’s results in 2007, you’re spending more time watching television on weekdays now (an average of two hours and 31 minutes a day). And you’re getting more sleep at night (eight hours and 23 minutes of shut-eye), although that’s up by only five more minutes from 2007.
After the recession left millions jobless, economists said they hoped that in lieu of work, people would spend more time on productive activities, such as volunteering or exercise, explains Princeton economist Dr. Alan Krueger. But so far, that hasn’t materialized.
“Last year continued to show the effects of the weak economy. The amount of time spent watching T.V. and other nonproductive activities remains extraordinarily high.”
A coming study by Dr. Krueger, using historical data on time use between 1991 and 2006, finds that the unemployed tend to sleep an hour longer than the employed, he said. And in the United States, T.V.-watching tends to consume almost a quarter of unemployed peoples’ waking hours.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s report, a gender gap does open up over leisure time. On average, women report spending five fewer hours per week on leisure than men, which indicates that although more women are working longer, they haven’t dialed back the time they spend on housework.
“The fulltime homemaker is disappearing, but men aren’t making up for it with more work.”
Read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article.