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The American Workplace - Shift Schedules

Jobs and Career OpportunitiesCareers and Occupations: Looking to the FutureThe American Workplace - A Workplace In Transition, Movement Of Work, The Shift To A Service Economy, How Much Time Do Americans Spend At Work?


According to 2004 BLS data, 84.6% of full-time wage and salary workers have regular daytime schedules; 14.8% work on alternative schedules, including evening shifts, employer-arranged irregular schedules, night shifts, and rotating shifts. In Workers on Flexible and Shift Schedules in May 2004, the BLS estimated that 4.7% of those who worked alternative shifts worked evening shifts, 3.2% worked night shifts, 3.1% worked employer-arranged irregular schedules, and 2.5% worked rotating shifts.

As indicated by the May 2004 data, shift work is most common among workers in service-oriented occupations, such as food preparation and serving (40.4%) and protective services (50.6%; police, firefighters, and guards), and among those employed in production, transportation, and material moving occupations (26.2%). Shift work in 2004 tended to be lowest for managers and professionals (7.6%) and those in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (7.5%).

Women (87%) were more likely than men (82.7%) to work regular daytime shifts in 2004, and men (16.7%) were more likely than women (12.4%) to work alternative shifts, such as an evening or night shifts, according to the BLS research. African-American shift workers (20.8%) were more likely to work an alternative shift than shift workers who were white (13.7%), Asian (15.7%), or Hispanic (16%).

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