NC Commerce

Labor and Economic Analysis Division, Department of Commerce

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Industrial and Regional Classifications of Early Birds

They say the early bird catches the worm.  If said bird had to get a job like the rest of us, it may choose particular types of industries over others.  Or it may fly to different parts of the state.

This blog piece will explore differences in starting times by industry and geography for North Carolina workers by using the 2016 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample from the U.S. Census Bureau* released last week. 

Overall

What time do workers go to work in North Carolina?  Below is the distribution of arrival times for those that work in North Carolina:

Work Arrival Time

Frequency

Percent in Category

12:00am-4:49am

129,044

3.1%

5:00am-5:59am

240,621

5.6%

6:00am-6:59am

671,018

15.6%

7:00am-7:59am

1,219,942

28.4%

8:00am-8:59am

884,395

20.6%

9:00am-9:59am

332,736

7.7%

10:00am-1:59pm

300,503

7.0%

2:00pm-5:59pm

350,793

8.2%

6:00pm-11:59pm

167,417

3.9%

 

Fun facts:

·         Most workers start work in the morning.  About half (49%) of workers begin their workday between 7:00am and 8:59am. 

·         The median time North Carolinian workers arrive at work is 7:53:02am.  If you get to work after this, more than half of your co-workers across the state have already arrived before you.

·         Working part time can give you a later start to the day.  Among all part-time workers (under 35 hours) in North Carolina, the median arrival time is 8:45:42am.

Industry differences

Different industries have different norms for starting times.  When we look at the middle time workers arrive in industries, they can vary fairly significantly from the early birds working in Agriculture & Extractive and Utilities industries who have half of their workers arrive before 7:05am to perhaps the night owls working in Accommodation/Food Services who have half of their workers arriving before 9:40am.  Below are the median start times by industry:

Industry

Median Work Arrival Time

Agricultural & Extractive

7:05am-7:09am

Utilities

7:05am-7:09am

Construction

7:15am-7:19am

Manufacturing

7:25am-7:29am

Public Administration

7:35am-7:39am

Education

7:40am-7:44am

Wholesale Trade

7:45am-7:49am

Transportation

7:45am-7:49am

Health Care & Social Assistance

7:50am-7:54am

Professional Services

8:00am-8:04am

Information

8:10am-8:14am

Retail Trade

8:15am-8:19am

Financial Services

8:15am-8:19am

Other Services

8:15am-8:19am

Arts & Entertainment

8:30am-8:34am

Accommodation & Food Services

9:40am-9:44am

 

More fun facts:

·         Over 88% of workers in Agriculture & Extractive industries and only 42% of workers in Accommodation & Food Services have already arrived at work by 9:00am. 

·         While a majority of workers arrive to work between 6:00am and 8:59am, there are some industries that have smaller percentages arriving in this time frame than other industries.  The industries whose workers don’t arrive as much during this time frame include:

o   Manufacturing (only 61.4% arrive between 6:00am-8:59am)

o   Other Services (60.8%)

o   Transportation (55.3%)

o   Retail Trade (54.7%)

o   Arts & Entertainment (49.6%)

o   Accommodation & Food Services (33.9%)

·         Some industries have a lot of workers with earlier starts.  The following industries have the highest percentages of workers arriving between 5:00am-6:59am:

o   Agricultural & Extractive (40.7%)

o   Manufacturing (35.0%)

o   Utilities (38.5%)

o   Construction (35.4%)

o   Public Administration (27.2%)

o   Transportation (24.7%)

·         Others have a lot of workers with later starts.  The following industries have the highest percentages of workers arriving between noon and midnight:

o   Accommodation & Food Services (35.6%)

o   Arts & Entertainment (23.0%)

o   Retail Trade (19.6%)

o   Transportation (18.8%)

o   Manufacturing (16.2%)

o   Health Care & Social Assistance (13.8%)

 

Regional differences?

Maybe different parts of the state have earlier workplace starts than others?  There are some slight differences across the state, with a range of median work arrival times from as early as around 7:20 (Sampson & Duplin Counties) to as late as 8:15 (Orange County)**.  This is likely associated with the industrial mixes of these areas.

Earliest Regions

Median arrival time

Latest Regions

Median arrival time

Sampson & Duplin Counties

7:20a-7:25a

Orange County

8:15a-8:19a

NE Albemarle Sound

7:25a-7:29a

Wake County

8:05a-8:09a

Wilson & Greene Counties

7:25a-7:29a

Pender & New Hanover (North) Counties

8:00a-8:04a

Randolph County

7:25a-7:29a

Gaston County

8:00a-8:04a

Caldwell & Alexander Counties

7:30a-7:34a

Haywood, Madison, Swain, Graham & Jackson (North) Counties

8:00a-8:04a

Hoke, Richmond, & Scotland Counties

7:30a-7:34a

Buncombe County

8:00a-8:04a

 

 

Chatham & Lee Counties

8:00a-8:04a

 

 

Durham County

8:00a-8:04a

 

Discussion/Conclusion

Despite Dolly Parton’s great song, the ‘9 to 5’ work days appear to be either gone, or certainly not a part of most North Carolina jobs in 2016, as a majority of workers arrive before 8am.  There are some industries that have earlier starts than others, but the some of these early starting industries like Manufacturing and Transportation may also have a lot of late starting jobs, too.  This shows the importance of shift work in these two industries.  Other industries that don’t have as much of a percentage showing up between 6-9am like Accommodation & Food Services and Arts & Entertainment have a good proportion of workers starting later in the day namely because these establishments may not open until later in the day.

These industrial differences impact the regions across the state in that the industrial mixes in counties reflect starting times at work.  Sampson & Duplin have greater percentages of early rising Agriculture while Orange County relies heavily on education and food, entertainment, and retail trade to serve later-rising college students at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Collectively, these all reflect the different work schedules required in this modern economy.

Anecdotally, while I have some evidence I’m an early bird- like I get in earlier than half of the workers in the state (7:53am), my industry (Public Administration: 7:35am), and region (Wake County: 8:00am)- I’m not that early of an arriver, as a full 18.8% of workers across the state generally arrive before I do.  For the rare day I treat myself, I’m just grateful to the 23.4% of Combined Food Preparation & Serving Workers, including Fast Food across the state that report to work earlier than me.  I’ll leave the worms to the birds and pick up biscuits from these fine people, thank you very much!

 

*All data from the 2016 American Community Survey 1-Year Public Use Microdata Sample.  Any errors are due to the author’s miscalculations.

**If you’re interested in substate areas and analysis with PUMS data, check here (type in ctrl+F and ’37, 0’ to immediately find North Carolina regions).

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Jeff RosenthalJeff Rosenthal

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