You have an interesting question, and I enjoyed researching it. I
always wondered myself how much the average workweek has changed over
the years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives an idea of how much.
It reports that the average workweek (manufacturing) has declined a
whopping 11 hours: from 53 in 1900 to 42 in 1999. (
http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar02p1.htm#18 ). I know you are
interested in the year to year data, so here's what I've found.
You have some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and BLS data
are most used in other scholarly works on the subject; I believe they
are the most reliable. So let's begin with:
1. U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
This site gives workweek statistics from 1994 to 2006. Unfortunately,
they are listed by month. However, the hours worked (production or
nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls; and manufacturing)
do not change that much month to month within a year. I chose a
representative month of June and got the following figures for nonfarm
and manufacturing weekly hours:
Month nonfarm farm url (below each entry)
June 2005 33.7 40.4
June 2004 33.6 40.8
June 2003 33.7 40.2
June 2002 34.3 41.1
June 2001 34.3 40.7
June 2000 34.5 41.6
June 1999 34.5 41.7
June 1998 34.6 41.8
June 1997 34.7 41.9
June 1996 34.3 40.9
June 1995 34.7 41.5
June 1994 34.6 42.0
Now to mix apples and oranges (a little bit). Missing months can be
garnered from three non-government papers.
(1) The hours people work
Open the pdf file, which has a chart A on page 8 showing the decline
of working hours in manufacturing jobs from 1900 to 1981. They ranged
down from about 57 to less than 40. The chart is in graph form. The
actual numbers used for the chart are not given. There is, however, a
set of numbers in Table 1 on page 9. You will see that there are
weekly hours for the years 1976, 1981, 1984, 1989, and 1993. The data
in Table 1 seem to be the same as in Chart 1 (adult men).
The reference for this information is Reid, F. "Reductions in work
time: An assessment of employment sharing to reduce
unemployment." In Work and Pay: The Canadian Labour Market, edited by
W. C. Riddell, 141-169. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985.)
(2) EH.net Encyclopedia
See Table 2 (about 1/8-way down the page) which shows the average work
week from 1900 to 1988, citing three sources. In that period, the
range was from near 60 to near 40. There are citations at the bottom
of the table (and the end of the article) in case you want to go to
the original sources. Also see: Kniesner, Thomas J. "The Full-Time
Work Week in the United States, 1900 ? 1970," Industrial and Labor
Relations Review, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Oct., 1976) , pp. 3-15
The first page of this article can be viewed at:
(3) Chapter 2 Work
This pdf file has a graph on page 14 which plots the work week
(manufacturing) of every year of the 20th Century. Unfortunately the
raw data are not given for every year. However, an explanation of the
data is given in the chapter "Daily and weekly work hours declined
until World War II, but annual work hours continued to decline
moderately throughout the century" on page 13.
I believe that using all the sources I have given you, you can piece
together the statistics that you need from 1900 to the present.
Perhaps you will want to view the book sources in the library. They
are not yet available at Google Books.
In closing, I'd like to give you the url for the Adobe Acrobat Reader
just in case you do not have it installed. It is a free download.
Good luck with your research.