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Press Release

Data shows working students spend less time studying than their nonworking counterparts, say Cleveland Fed researchers

What are the effects of employment on students’ academic and labor market outcomes? On the one hand, working might reduce the time students have for homework and studying. On the other hand, it might help students focus, improve their time management, or provide them with specific job skills. To begin to explore this issue, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland researchers Dionissi Aliprantis and Anne Chen use data from the American Time Use Survey to compare the amount of time that employed and unemployed students spend on homework and other activities.

The researchers find that full-time high school and college students who are in the labor force tend to:

  • spend between 20 and 40 minutes less on homework every weekday than their unemployed counterparts. (The researchers note, however, that their analysis cannot say whether employed students would have spent this additional time on homework if they were not employed.)
  • sleep between 30 and 60 minutes less every weekday than their unemployed counterparts and spend roughly 30 fewer leisure minutes on TV and computers
  • work between 2 and 3 hours each weekday while in high school and between 4 and 5 hours each weekday while in college

“Since the data clearly show that working students do in fact spend less time studying than their nonworking counterparts, it remains to be seen whether there are advantages to working while in school and whether they outweigh any disadvantages,” say the researchers. “Given the potential impact of working while in school on students’ educational attainment and labor market outcomes, fully characterizing the advantages and disadvantages is a subject worthy of further study.”

Read Student Employment and Time Use

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479