Hours of Work in Wartime

November 16, 1942

Report Outline
Growing Shortage of Industrial Manpower
Contrast in Working Hours: Germany and France
Hours of Work in Britain: World War I and World War Ii
Wartime Hours in the United States
Special Focus

Growing Shortage of Industrial Manpower

Call for Fuller Utilization Labor Force

Shortages of manpower, resulting from heavy draft calls at a time when the demand for war goods is rising by leaps and bounds, have brought an insistent demand for full utilization of the available labor force. A principal measure recommended to this end is an increase in the workweek throughout American industry.

Demands for repeal or modification of statutes which prescribe a basic eight hour day or 40 hour week have come from many quarters since the opening of the American offensive in North Africa. Earlier in the year, the administration at Washington successfully resisted various moves in Congress—by members who previously had sponsored restrictive labor legislation—to obtain a revision of the wage-hour standards set up in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. It is widely believed, however, that an atmosphere mere favorable to this purpose may have been created by the results of the congressional elections of November 3.

Factors in Determining Length of Workweek

The average workweek in industry in Great Britain is approximately 58 hours. In Nazi Germany a 10 hour day-60 hour week is considered normal. In the United States the average weekly hours worked by employees in all manufacturing industries combined was less than 43 in August, 1942 (the latest month for which figures are available) although workers in direct war factories worked somewhat longer hour.3 than the national average.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Work Week
Jun. 12, 1987  Part-Time Work
Feb. 28, 1973  Leisure Business
Apr. 19, 1972  Productivity and the New Work Ethic
Aug. 11, 1971  Four-Day Week
Dec. 09, 1964  Leisure in the Great Society
Jun. 13, 1962  Shorter Hours of Work
Feb. 17, 1960  Sunday Selling
May 08, 1957  Four-Day Week
Dec. 03, 1954  Shorter Work Week
Mar. 05, 1948  Hours of Work and Full Production
Jul. 05, 1944  Hours of Work After the War
Nov. 16, 1942  Hours of Work in Wartime
Jan. 17, 1936  The Thirty-Hour Week
Mar. 10, 1932  The Five-Day Week and the Six-Hour Day
May 23, 1929  The Five-Day Week in Industry
Labor Standards and Practices
U.S. at War: World War II
War and Conflict