By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – For many people the American Dream is defined by doing better than their parents did.

But that’s pretty hard to realize when you don’t work as much as they did.

The Labor Department in Washington shows the average work week has gone from over 38 hours in the mid 1960’s to fewer than 34 hours right now. A drop of about 12-percent.

Just to be clear, these are averages – obviously a lot of people work 40 hours or more every week so you can imagine how many others are working part-time, even if they don’t want to be.

In fact, economists say that’s the real story here. The growth in part-time jobs. More companies are offering them because they can save money. No benefits to pay.

And this story should give you a good sense of why there’s a big battle brewing over the minimum wage here in Massachusetts and around the country.

The federal minimum is $7.25 an hour. In Massachusetts it’s $8.

It has not been increased on the state level since 2008 and there’s a movement underway to boost it through a ballot initiative.

That movement, led by a coalition of groups called Raise Up Massachusetts is also calling for a state-wide earned sick-time policy.

Now you may not like the idea of that – and I’m not here to tell you whether it’s right or wrong – but with what we know about the job market, we should not be surprised.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz


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