Overwhelmed and Overworked: The Myth of American Productivity

Written by Virginia Bola, PsyD

Employment finally seemed back on track duringrepparttar first few months of 2004. Politicians crowed that "Our tax cuts are working." Then, without warning, job growth slowed to a crawl, resulting in a deficit of more than 2 million jobs from that confidently predicted only a year ago. To counteract that dismal performance, public emphasis turned to another indicator, productivity. The reported increases in American productivity are quite genuine. Individual worker output collectively rose, from 2000 to 2003, by a full 12 percent. Definitely a bonus for Wall Street - but what about Main Street?

Asrepparttar 132283 meticulous research ofrepparttar 132284 Economic Policy Institute shows (Snapshot, 09/08/04), real family income fell, overrepparttar 132285 same period, by 3 percent. Contrast this withrepparttar 132286 economic period of 1947 - 1973 when productivity and real family income moved in tandem, both doubling over those years.

What does this suggest?

Americans are working harder and longer for less family income. As companies downsize or fail to replace workers who leave or retire, fewer staff are left to handlerepparttar 132287 workload. In fear of losing their own jobs, they respond by accepting new duties and new responsibilities andrepparttar 132288 added work time that accompanies them. In a world where employees are tethered to their workplaces virtually aroundrepparttar 132289 clock, by laptops, cell phones, and blackberries,repparttar 132290 traditional balance of home and work has crumbled.

There is a tendency to believe that such pressures are only operative forrepparttar 132291 ambitious, career-obsessed, "Apprentice"-like, ladder climbers. In fact,repparttar 132292 sixty-hour-plus workweek affects a substantial portion of all salaried workers, even down to front line supervisory staff.

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