The Bank of England has been looking into reasons why the number of hours worked is falling across developed economies.
And come up with some surprising conclusions.
“People are taking more vacations,” Kristen Forbes, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee told UK lawmakers on Tuesday.
“People are feeling more comfortable in their jobs and working less hours,” she said.
The phenomenon of falling working hours has a number of drivers, which change depending on the country. In Australia, average weekly hours worked has fallen from 34 to 32 over the past 20 years, which might be due to slowing net migration to the country.
Although Forbes added the caveat that this “is very preliminary research,” there is good evidence in the airline sector that people are taking more holidays this year.
Ryanair, the budget airline, said it had seen a 13% jump in passenger traffic to 58.1 million in its half-year trading update.
The increased job security for UK workers is also helping to fuel a credit boom. Mortgages are cheap thanks to low interest rates and “personal loans are picking up at a rate of knots,” Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, said.
That’s something the Financial Policy Committee, which is responsible for financial stability in the UK, “will be keeping a close eye on,” he said.
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