Americans Are Spending More Time Watching TV and Sleeping as Unemployment Rises, Survey Finds
The average American aged 15 or older spent three hours, 11 minutes a day working in 2009, according to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department... That's 17 minutes less time a day engaged in work than in 2007, before the recession hit. While 17 minutes might not seem a lot, when it's averaged over the entire population, including employed people, those who have lost a job and retirees, it represents a significant amount.
What did people do with that extra time? Mainly they slept and watched TV. Time spent in front of the television rose by 12 minutes, to two hours, 49 minutes a day in the two years through 2009. Sleep was the next big gainer, increasing by six minutes to eight hours, 40 minutes a day.
The data also show what Americans aren't doing with their extra time: There was virtually no change between 2007 and 2009 in the time devoted to volunteering, religious activities, exercise or education. In sum, time people might have used productively is instead being squandered...