What are Americans doing with their additional leisure time?

American labor force participation rate is falling (BLS):

An evil (i.e., profit-seeking) company owner whom I know installed an activity logger on the Windows laptops that he provides to employees. “Actual work fell from about 30 hours per week in the office to 20 once people were working from home,” he said. (The young engineers, meanwhile, told HR that they were overwhelmed and suffering from a lack of work/life balance.)

So we have fewer Americans working and fewer hours per week spent commuting and working for those who are, at least in theory, still working.

Here’s a report from Disney World on a recent Monday:

Historically, we’ve seen low crowds throughout much of January and February, but this year has brought 6-hour lines and ridiculously packed parks for what is supposed to be the “off-season.”

By the time we got closer to the front [of the security screening line], the Cast Members were warning the guests at the back that it would be at least an hour before they’d be able to get into the park. WOW!

We finally got through and made it to the monorail, which, unfortunately, had a line of its own. This entire process usually takes us less than 30 minutes at this time of the morning, but today it took a little more than an hour to get inside Magic Kingdom from the parking lot.

But not everyone can be in a theme park.

Perhaps the new leisure hours were filled with people applying for all of the new government grant programs? Bad news… “Biden administration denies funding programs that hand out crack pipes to prevent infection and promote ‘racial equity'” (Daily Mail):

The $30 million grant program will distribute funds to nonprofits and local governments to make drug use safer and ‘advance racial equity’

Included in the grant is money to purchase ‘safe smoking kits/supplies’

A spokesperson for HHS said included in these kits could be pipes for users to smoke substances like crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine

President Biden’s Health and Human Services department (HHS) denied that it is finalizing a plan for funding to dole out crack pipes to drug addicts as part of its ‘Harm Reduction Plan.’

The $30 million grant program, which accepted applications until Monday and will begin doling out money in May, intends to provide funds to nonprofits and local governments to make drug use safer, to advance ‘racial equity.’

I.e., no matter how hard someone worked on a new crack pipe design, the Biden administration won’t buy it.

What about meeting up (in a COVID-safe manner) with new friends? 2020 was a record year for Tinder and 2021 was even better (source; note that the scale is mislabeled (should be $millions)):

Watching TV, play games, and streaming? It is tough to find statistics for adults, but “U.S. Adolescents’ Daily Screen Time Doubled During Pandemic” (US News): “Recreational screen time among U.S. teens doubled from before the pandemic to nearly eight hours per day during the pandemic…”

What else is a realistic possibility?

10 thoughts on “What are Americans doing with their additional leisure time?

  1. It is evil. The lion kingdom would create an HID device to create artificial activity or just move on. The lion kingdom doesn’t work on a laptop & only did when commuting. Obviously an activity logger would find less activity on the laptop. Guess working from home still left them more productive than an asian semiconductor factory. They don’t make anything anymore.

  2. Your filthy capitalist friend might be surprised to learn his remote workers are still working 30 hours per week, just not for him:

    > 50% of the respondents to the survey said that they’ve worked for another company, while on the clock with their employer


    Using a mouse mover/jiggler to look busy, someone on hacker news claimed to be earning $1.5M working multiple remote jobs:
    “The bar is so low, oversight is non-existent, and everyone is so forgiving for under performance I can coast about 4-8 weeks before a given job fires me”.

  3. At my employer, prior to March 2020, work-from-home was unheard of. And my employer implemented a formal work-from-home program a year ago. About 50% of my coworkers (100% female) have been periodically (i.e. when it’s convenient for them or when school is not in session or daycare is closed) working from home since March 2020.

    I haven’t taken advantage of work-from-home, but I have taken advantage. Though my work slow down backfired a little on me today when my boss (who I briefly see or hear from once a month, though she’s located about 50 paces from my office) called my extension at 10:30 am and left me a voicemail but I had already left for my 2-hour lunch break.

    • You should inquire with IT about how to setup Sim Ring on your desk extension. Most modern PABX support that. An alternative is call forward.

  4. “The young engineers, meanwhile, told HR that they were overwhelmed and suffering from a lack of work/life balance.”

    Very possibly many of these young engineers actually did believe they were working many more hours than was the fact. Time spent on many little interruptions can add up very quickly without us realizing it. Maybe the owner should give the engineers activity loggers for their personal confidential use.

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