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TriNet SMBeat Report Shows Average Employee Works 5.14 Hours Longer Per Month Than in 2007

  • June report reveals impact of Great Recession on work-life balance for full-time employees
  • On average, employees spend 2.34 hours less leisure time per month than during 2007
  • On average, employees use 1.03 hours less of Paid Time Off per month than prior to the Great Recession

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. – July 10, 2014 –


(NYSE: TNET), a leading cloud-based

provider of HR services

, today announced the findings of its June 2014 issue of TriNet SMBeat, a monthly analysis of small to medium-sized business (SMB) employment and human capital economic indicators. Among other findings, the report highlights that employees today are working an average of 5.14 hours more per month than in 2007. June’s SMBeat features an analysis of how full-time employees across various industries reacted to economic changes by how they allocated their time between work and leisure. Additionally, the report utilizes data from the TriNet Population[1] to show how the use of paid time off changed before, during and after the recession.

Compared to the 12-month period leading up to the start of the Great Recession,[2] the reports shows that employees in all industries except professional services saw an increase in monthly working hours during the recession. The percentage increase ranged from 2.6% to 5.6% over the prior year. According to the report, working hours have not returned to pre-recession levels and were 3% higher in 2013 than in 2007.

These findings indicate that the reduction in workforce during the Great Recession put pressure on the existing employees to increase the hours spent at work to fill in the gaps left by those who were laid off. This could come at the expense of time spent on leisure activities, and an imbalance of work versus leisure hours can take its toll on both employees and employers. According to a study published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development regarding the well-being of persons throughout the world, this includes numerous health problems that result from not spending the recommended time on exercise and taking care of oneself.


For example, a third party study from 2012 showed that American businesses spend $344 billion per year on stress related health care costs.


Other studies suggest that long breaks replenish job performance while vacation deprivation increases mistakes and resentment of co-workers.


The negative impact on productivity from overworked employees could reduce a company’s ability to accomplish goals that translate to the bottom line. As a result, employers who encourage workers to take time off could get ahead of the competition by ensuring employees are at their maximum productivity and contribution to the firm.

Below are the key findings of the June 2014 TriNet SMBeat Report. The leisure time and working hours data found in this report are the results of an analysis performed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) American Time Use Survey data (ATUS).


All data related to Paid Time Off (PTO) and net job growth is sourced from the TriNet Population.[7]
  • Leisure time decreased overall by 1.7% during the Great Recession and further decreased in 2013 by 3.4% compared to 2007.
  • The information sector was impacted the most by the Great Recession, increasing working hours by 20.8% in 2013 compared to 2007. In 2013, time spent on leisure activities by employees in the information sector saw a substantial decrease, with 28.7% fewer hours per month as compared to 2007.
  • Working hours in the finance sector increased 2.6% during the Great Recession as compared to 2007. Conversely, leisure time increased by 4.9%, a trend that was extended in 2013 to a 7.3% increase as compared to 2007. We believe this is likely due to the collapse of the worldwide financial markets. The slow recovery of the financial systems has contributed to the delay in the returning of working hours to pre-recession levels.
  • The amount of hours spent on PTO decreased by 12% during the Great Recession compared to 2007. The number of PTO hours taken in 2013 has further decreased, dropping 16.5%, or 1.03 hours, compared to 2007.
In addition to the findings on the impact of the Great Recession on work-life balance, below are the key findings on economic employment indicators across TriNet’s clients in June:
  • Net job growth expanded more slowly at 1.01%, as compared to May’s growth of 1.69%.[8]
  • The life science sector saw 1.46% net job growth, surpassing last month’s growth of 1.28%.[9] The San Francisco Bay Area led this sector with 1.19% net job growth. In Los Angeles the life science sector contracted with a 0.54% net job loss.
  • In the tech sector, net job growth slowed in June, moving to 1.39% well below May’s growth of 2.88%.[10] Boston leads the tech sector with 2.27% net job growth, surpassing Atlanta, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and New York. The Denver-Boulder area posted negative growth with 0.18% net job loss.

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About TriNet

TriNet is a leading provider of a comprehensive human resources solution for small to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs. We enhance business productivity by enabling our clients to outsource their human resources, or HR, function to one strategic partner and allowing them to focus on operating and growing their core businesses. Our HR solution includes services such as payroll processing, human capital consulting, employment law compliance and employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans and workers compensation insurance. Our services are delivered by our expert team of HR professionals and enabled by our proprietary, cloud-based technology platform, which allows our clients and their employees to efficiently conduct their HR transactions anytime and anywhere. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Jock Breitwieser                                 Michelle Sieling

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[1] Throughout this document and the SMBeat the TriNet Population refers to the full time salaried employees from our more than 240,000 worksite employees.

[2] The Great Recession refers to the economic downturn beginning in December 2007 and ending in June 2009.

[3] OECD Better Life Index: Work-Life Balance

[4] Americans not taking vacation and it hurts. November 27, 2012

[5]The Atlantic: The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity

[6] American Time Use Survey

[7] As of March 31, 2014

[8] All historical estimates in previous SMBeat publications are routinely revised to incorporate additional data and recalculated seasonal adjustment factors.

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

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