American consumers are spending more time traveling to work, with the average one-way commute time rising to just over 27 minutes in 2018, a new record high according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The data shows that the average U.S. citizen spends around two more minutes commuting to work than they did back in 2009. That adds up to around 20 extra minutes per week, or an additional 17 hours on the road going to and from work over the course of a year.
Compared with 1980, American workers have lost nearly an hour a week from commuting. The average American worker spent 225 hours—or the equivalent of nine calendar days—commuting in 2018.
“Rising commute times reflect the challenges of life in many metropolitan areas where new housing isn’t being built fast enough,” The Washington Post reported. “As a result, many workers are forced out to far-flung suburbs and exurban areas in search of affordable homes. … Rising commute times are likely to spur more workers and employers to experiment with remote work.”
Indeed, the number of Americans who are telecommuting and working from home has grown significantly in the last decade. Ten years ago, telecommuting was virtually unheard of, but nowadays as much as 5% of the American workforce does so on a regular basis, the Census Bureau data shows.