American Consequences - January 2018


be the major demographic group with the least discretionary time at their disposal – and thus an especially informative counterpoint to NILF men, who have more discretionary time at their disposal than any other major demographic group of working age adults. The differences are stunning. Not surprisingly, the two greatest differences in reported time use between these four groups are in “work and work-related activities” on the one hand, and “socializing, relaxing and leisure” on the other. Employed prime-age men spend about six hours a day (a daily average including weekends and holidays) on work and work- related activities. Employed women spent about five hours a day. Unemployed prime- age men devoted an average of over an hour a day to these activities (mainly job search). Prime-age men who were neither working not looking for work spent an average of seven minutes a day. With neither workplace nor job search to attend to, these non-workforce men gain an additional 2150 hours of free time each year in comparison to a man with a job, over 1800 hours a year as against a woman with a job, and over 350 hours a year over even a man who is unemployed but looking for work. What is striking, however, is how little of this enormous dividend of extra free time is devoted to activities that would be of help to others in the family – to or others in the community. For example: NILF men put in no more time for household care than employed women – and less than unemployed men.

By the same token: NILF men spend appreciably less time caring for other

household members than either employed women or unemployed men, and no more than men who had paid work as well to do. NILF men spend less time in religious and volunteer activities than any of the three other groups. NILF men spend more time on “personal care” – sleeping, grooming and the like – than any of the other three groups: nearly 200 hours more each year than unemployed men, over 250 hours a year more than working women, and over 450 hours a year more than men with jobs. The greatest difference in the daily routine of un-working men concerns “socializing, relaxing and leisure.” Un-working men devote nearly eight hours a day to these assorted pastimes – two hours a day more than unemployed men. “Socializing, relaxing and leisure” are akin to a full-time job for the un-working American male. And just what sorts of diversions do un-working men engage in during their roughly eight hours a day of “socializing, relaxing and leisure”? Men who neither work nor look for work commit more time to “attending gambling establishments,” “tobacco and drug use,” and “listening to the radio” than either working men and women or unemployed men. Conversely, un-working men spent less time in the following activities than any other group: “attending museums,” “attending performing arts,” and “attending movies/films.”

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