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Hours polarization revisited

  • By Jeannine Usalcas


  • Between 1997 and 2006, the average standard work week continued to decline, despite stronger growth in full- rather than part-time employment.

  • In 2006, fewer workers were at the extremes—under 15 hours or 49 hours or more—marking a shift from the increasing polarization seen from the 1980s to mid-1990s.

  • Women increased their hours as more worked 30 to 40 hours. Men's hours declined as fewer worked 49 or more. Older workers had the largest shift away from very long hours and the largest growth in working between 15 and 39 hours in 2006.

  • The strong labour market in the last ten years attracted more women, mothers with dependent children, youth and older workers into the labour force—groups that generally prefer varied hours.

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