NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Economy Rocking Around The Clock

September 20, 2000

Night work has been a fact of life for generations of nurses, police officers, security guards and factory employees. But a roaring economy, globalization and 24-hour demand for goods and services have given rise to a whole new economy of night-time work.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics could only find 3.5 million people working the night shift in 1997 -- but experts say that number is far too low.
  • The Massachusetts consulting firm of Circadian Information estimates that 23 million people will work night, evening or split shifts or regularly rotate between night and day work this year.
  • The new nocturnal workers include legions of stock brokers, building contractors, account reps and software fixers -- as well as restaurant workers, taxi drivers and delivery personnel who cater to them.

The Internet has been a major factor in advancing the 24-hour day -- with personnel recruiters, for example, staying up into the wee hours to snag resumes and even e-mail interesting prospects before their competitors do.

Source: Laura Bird, "The New 24/7 Work Cycle," Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2000.


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