Lack of full-time jobs seen as a bigger problem than long hours

July 15, 2015, 6:01 PM GMT+0

Most Americans, including Democrats, think the number of people working part-time instead of full-time is a bigger problem than long hours

Last week Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush caused some controversy after he said that 'people need to work longer hours'. Bush later clarified that he was referring to the number of workers who only work part-time despite wanting to work full-time, but Hillary Clinton latched onto the comments and attacked Bush for saying that American workers don't work hard enough. Both have some claim to the truth, as while 6.7 million Americans currently work part-time despite wanting a full-time job, Americans also work more than their counterparts in many other wealthy countries.

YouGov's latest research shows that most Americans (56%) think that the bigger problem is that there are so many part-time workers who want to work full-time. Only 25% of Americans think that it is more problematic that so many people who do work full-time have to put in unsocial hours. Most Democrats (53%) and Republicans (63%) agree that the dearth of full-time employment is a bigger issue.

Many Americans (33%) do feel, however, that Americans work too much. 34% think that Americans work about the right amount while 21% think that Americans don't work enough. The attitude that Americans don't work enough is most common, perhaps ironically, among over-65s (74% of whome are retired). 33% of over-65s think that Americans don't work enough, compared to only 14% of under-30s. 39% of under-30s say that Americans work too much.

While Americans don't widely agree on whether people work too much or too little, a large majority (61%) agree that the average American worker is underpaid. Only 26% think that average workers are paid fairly while 4% think they are overpaid.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.