Economic News Release

Workers on Flexible and Shift Schedules in 2004 Summary


Technical information:  (202) 691-6378     USDL 05-1198
               http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                           For release:  10:00 A.M. EDT
Media contact:                691-5902     Friday, July 1, 2005


            WORKERS ON FLEXIBLE AND SHIFT SCHEDULES IN MAY 2004
     
   In May 2004, over 27 million full-time wage and salary workers had flexi-
ble work schedules that allowed them to vary the time they began or ended
work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported
today.  These workers comprised 27.5 percent of all full-time wage and salary
workers, down from 28.6 percent in May 2001, when these data were last collect-
ed.  The proportion who usually worked a shift other than a daytime schedule
(14.8 percent) remained close to the 2001 level.  (See table A.)
   
   These findings were obtained from a supplement to the May 2004 Current
Population Survey (CPS).  The CPS is the monthly household survey that
provides information on national employment and unemployment.  In May 2004,
the survey also collected information about flexible schedules, shift work,
and other related topics.  The data presented in this release pertain to
wage and salary workers who usually worked full time (35 or more hours per
week) on their main job.  For further information about the survey, see the
Technical Note.
   
Flexible Schedules
   
   In May 2004, men continued to be somewhat more likely to have flexible
schedules than women (28.1 and 26.7 percent, respectively).
   
   Flexible schedules were more common among white workers (28.7 percent)
than among black (19.7 percent) or Hispanic or Latino workers (18.4 percent).
The proportion of Asians who worked flexible schedules was 27.4 percent in
May 2004.  Among whites, 29.4 percent of men and 27.8 percent of women had
flexible schedules.  Among Asians as well, a greater proportion of men worked
flexible schedules than women.  In contrast, among blacks and Hispanics or
Latinos, women were slightly more likely than men to work flexible schedules.
(See tables A and 1.)

                                  - 2 -
   
Table A.  Flexible schedules and shift work of full-time wage and salary
workers by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, May, selected
years, 1985-2004
-------------------------------------------------------------------------    
                   |                         |
                   |  Percent with flexible  |  Percent with alternative
                   |        schedules        |          shifts
 Characteristic    |                         |
                    -----------------------------------------------------
                   |May |May |May |May  |May |May |May |May |May  |May
                   |1985|1991|1997|2001r|2004|1985|1991|1997|2001r|2004
-------------------------------------------------------------------------   
                   |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
       SEX         |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
                   |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
Total, 16 years    |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
 and over..........|12.4|15.0|27.6| 28.6|27.5|16.0|18.0|16.9| 14.5|14.8
  Men..............|13.1|15.4|28.6| 29.7|28.1|17.9|20.4|19.2| 16.4|16.7
  Women............|11.3|14.5|26.2| 27.3|26.7|13.2|14.8|13.7| 12.1|12.4
                   |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
 RACE AND HISPANIC |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
     OR LATINO     |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |     
     ETHNICITY     |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
                   |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
  White(1).........|12.8|15.4|28.6| 29.7|28.7|15.5|17.2|16.2| 13.7|13.7
  Black or Afri-   |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
   can American(1).| 9.1|12.0|20.1| 21.1|19.7|20.0|23.3|21.0| 19.7|20.8
  Asian(1).........|  - | -  | -  | 30.6|27.4|  - |  - |  - | 15.6|15.7
  Hispanic or La-  |    |    |    |     |    |    |    |    |     |
   tino ethnicity..| 8.9|10.6|18.2| 19.6|18.4|15.5|19.2|16.2| 15.0|16.0
-------------------------------------------------------------------------   
  r = revised.  Data for May 2001 have been revised to reflect the intro-
duction of Census 2000-based population controls.  See the Technical Note
for additional information.
  1 Beginning with May 2004 data, persons who selected this race group
only; persons who selected more than one race group are not included.
Prior to 2004, persons who reported more than one race group were included
in the group they identified as their main race.  Data for Asians were not
tabulated for supplements prior to May 2001.
  Note:  Data exclude the incorporated and unincorporated self-employed.  


   Among the major occupational groups, flexible schedules were most common
among management, professional, and related occupations (36.8 percent).
Within that occupational group, 44.7 percent of management, business, and
financial operations workers were able to vary their work hours.  Flexible
schedules also were prevalent among sales and office workers (29.5 percent).
In contrast, only 17.6 percent of natural resources, construction, and main-
tenance workers and 14.3 percent of production, transportation, and material
moving workers had such flexibility.  (See table 2.)
   
   Among private sector employees, industries with a relatively high prev-
alence of workers with flexible schedules included financial activities
(37.7 percent), professional and business services (37.6 percent), and
information (34.9 percent).  Industries with a relatively low prevalence
of workers on flexible schedules included mining (22.9 percent) and con-
struction (20.3 percent).  In the public sector, flexible schedules were
more common among federal (28.8 percent) and state government employees
(28.4 percent) than among workers in local government (13.7 percent).
(See table 2.)

                                  - 3 -

Formal Flexitime Programs
   
   Although more than 1 in 4 workers can work a flexible schedule, only
about 1 in 10 are enrolled in a formal, employer-sponsored flexitime pro-
gram.  Workers in management, professional, and related occupations were
among the most likely to have a formal flexitime program (14.2 percent).
Workers in production, transportation, and material moving occupations
were the least likely to have a formal flexitime program (5.9 percent).
(See table 3.)
   
Shift Work
   
   Almost 15 percent of full-time wage and salary workers usually worked an 
alternative shift in May 2004.  By type of shift, 4.7 percent of the total
worked evening shifts, 3.2 percent worked night shifts, 3.1 percent worked
employer-arranged irregular schedules, and 2.5 percent worked rotating
shifts.  The proportion of full-time wage and salary workers on alternative
schedules has fallen since May 1991.  (See tables A and 4.)
   
   Men were more likely than women to work an alternative shift (16.7 and
12.4 percent, respectively).  Blacks were more likely than whites, Hispanics
or Latinos, or Asians to work such shifts.  (See table 4.)
   
   The prevalence of shift work was greatest among workers in service occu-
pations, such as protective service (50.6 percent)--which includes police,
firefighters, and guards--and food preparation and serving (40.4 percent)
and among those employed in production, transportation, and material moving
occupations (26.2 percent).  Alternative shifts were least common among man-
agement, professional, and related occupations (7.6 percent) and workers in
natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations (7.5 percent).
(See table 5.)
   
   The proportion of workers on alternative shifts was highest in leisure and
hospitality industries (38.3 percent), mining (31.9 percent), and transpor-
tation and utilities (27.9 percent).  Shift work was less prevalent in pro-
fesssional and business services (7.8 percent), financial activities
(5.4 percent), and lowest in construction (2.9 percent).  (See table 5.)
   
Reasons for Shift Work
   
   Over half (54.6 percent) of those working an alternative shift did so
because it was the "nature of the job."  Other reasons for working a non-
daytime schedule included "personal preference" (11.5 percent), "better
arrangements for family or child care" (8.2 percent), "could not get any
other job" (8.1 percent), and "better pay" (6.8 percent).  Many of those
who worked night and evening shifts chose such schedules due to personal
preference (21.0 and 15.9 percent, respectively) or because these shifts
facilitated better arrangements for family or child care (15.9 and 11.0
percent, respectively).  The vast majority of those with rotating, split,
and employer-arranged irregular schedules reported the "nature of the job"
as the reason for working a non-daytime schedule.  (See table 6.)
   
Beginning and Ending Hours
   
   The May 2004 supplement also provided data on the times people usually
begin and end work.  About two-thirds of all full-time wage and salary
workers usually began work between 6:30 A.M. and 9:29 A.M., with the
greatest concentration during the 7:30 to 8:29 A.M. period.  Over half
usually left work between 3:30 P.M. and 6:29 P.M., with the greatest
concentration in the 4:30 to 5:29 P.M. bracket.  (See table 7.)
   
   
   
   
   

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: July 01, 2005
Recommend this page using: