Washington Residents Are Among the Hardest Workers in the Nation, Study Shows

The longer hours lead to fatter paychecks, but also earn the state low marks in work-life balance

By Bill Conroy September 18, 2019

Group of computer programmers working in the office. Focus is on blond woman showing something to her colleague on PC.

Washington ranks one spot above dead last among U.S. states in a study assessing work-life balance based on the amount of time residents spend working and commuting.

Workers in the state spend an average of 40.1 hours a week working, another 4.65 hours weekly commuting and have an average of 123.25 hours of free time weekly, according to the study conducted by online resume-building platform Zety. That compares to the state with the best work-life balance based on the same measures: Utah, where residents work an average of 37.3 hours weekly, spend 3.67 hours commuting per week and have 127.03 hours of free time a week.

The tradeoff, however, is in the average annual salary, with Washington ranking fourth highest among the states, at $59,410 with Massachusetts first at $63,910. Utah ranked in the middle of the pack among the states on that measure, at $47,920. Alaska edged out Washington as the state with the least amount of free time weekly, at 123.13 hours.

The four worst states in which workers have the least amount of free time are Alaska, Washington, Virginia and Maryland, the Zety study states. Interestingly, the average earnings for these states are all in the top 10 of the best wages.

Another recent study of work-life balance assessed as the city level, called Cities for the Best Work-Life Balance 2019, ranked Seattle as the fourth most overworked city of the 40 markets analyzed, behind Washington, D.C., Houston and Atlanta, respectively, with Chicago trailing Seattle in fifth place. That assessment is based on a measure of each citys work intensity factors such as average hours worked a week, commuting time and vacations taken.

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