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This Is Why Working In New York Is The Absolute Worst

Residents of the Big Apple spend a combined average of 49 hours per week working and commuting — longer than any other major city in the country.

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New Yorkers have long workweeks, grueling commutes, and one of the highest costs of living anywhere. But just how difficult living in New York City really is depends a lot on who you are and what you do.

A new NYC Economic Brief revealed this week that New Yorkers spend an average of 6.18 hours per week commuting to work — longer than any of the next 29 largest American cities.

New Yorkers also work an average of 42.5 hours per week. That's not the longest workweek in the U.S. — San Francisco, Houston, and a handful of other cities have longer ones — but when combined with commute times, it totals 49.08 hours.

That means people in New York are, on average, spending more time on work than anyone else in the country.

That's all pretty disheartening if you live in New York, but you're especially hard-hit if you fall into one of these groups:


1. Women:

Long workweeks and commutes may actually be keeping women out of the workforce, the report notes. The percentage of women working in New York City is lower than average, and much lower than in cities like Boston and San Francisco.

The report ties New York's lower female working rates to the costs of child care, pointing out that "commuting typically occurs at the times of day child care is most difficult to find, and because commuting delays are generally less predictable than work schedules."

2. Anyone who doesn't make a lot of money:

Yes, everyone in New York City is working long hours and has a long commute. But the good news is that if you're a lawyer, a judge, a doctor, or another type of "well-educated, well-paid professional," you're probably being compensated for working more with a higher salary. And those in that higher-paid group tend to have shorter commutes anyway because "well-paid professionals are able to afford housing close to their places of employment, living disproportionately in Manhattan."


Other professions don't have it so good. There are 133,000 nursing and home health care aides in New York City, and they actually make less on average than their counterparts in other cities. And they have longer workweeks.

The report also notes that cooks, waiters, and waitresses "do not benefit as much from their lengthy New York workweeks." And security guards have the longest commutes, at an average of eight hours a week.

3. Anyone who commutes by boat or train (but not subway):

Obviously, if you're taking the Long Island Railroad or the Staten Island Ferry into Manhattan, your commute won't be short. But it's remarkable just how much time that actually takes: Ferry commuters spend an average of 11.14 hours commuting per week, while rail commuters spend 10.4 hours.

That's longer than an entire extra day of work.

Bus and subway commuters spend an average of 8.05 and 7.51 hours per week, respectively, getting to and from work.

On the other hand, people who walk to work spend a mere 2.4 hours per week commuting. Those who take taxis average 3.13 hours.

While the commuting issues are tough to resolve, the report said it could be improved by staggering rush hour, building better transit systems, and giving workers more flexible schedules.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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