It's a common complaint: You feel like you're working constantly, and there's never enough time to enjoy life.

 

But as a whole, Americans are working far less now than they did a generation ago, and have more leisure time than ever.

 

The average work week has gone from over 38 hours in 1964 to under 34 hours in 2013 -- a drop of nearly 12 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

A big reason for the decline is the growth in part-time jobs, which have surged as more women entered the workforce and the number of restaurants, shopping malls and other establishments that employ part-time workers have exploded.

 

Another explanation is that people tend to stay in school longer and retire earlier, clocking fewer hours over their lifetime. Men in their 50s, for example, have been retiring or entering semi-retirement earlier and in greater numbers than those in previous generations, according to John Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, and are partly responsible for driving down overall work hours per week.

 

And we're working a lot less than our grandparents, great grandparents and earlier generations. The average work week for a manufacturing employee in the 1860s was 62 hours, according to a paper from Robert Whaples, an economist at Wake Forest University. Read more.