1600 hours

We should be using 1600 hours as the annual amount of available labor per person when we calculate how long something will take, how much it will cost, or how much someone should earn.

1600 hours is 32 hours a week for 50 weeks. $15.00/hour for 1600 hours gets you enough to support a family of 3 above the Federal Poverty Level in 49 of the 50 states1.

The workforce (a.k.a., the 62.7% of the population ages 18-65 who actually work) in the U.S. is about 124.5 million people2 as of April 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau. Multiply that by 1600 hours and you get roughly 199.8 billion hours worked per year. Divide that by the estimated 2023 GDP of $27.94 trillion from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, means that *on average* each person in the workforce should be generating $139.87 of economic value per hour of labor, or 1929% of the Federal Minimum Wage.

  1. Alaska requires $15.51/hour to break through the Poverty Line. ↩︎
  2. The roughly 210.5 million people in the country who don’t work because they are too young, too old, or are part of the 74.6 million working age people who are not (as of April 2024) participating in the workforce, are not producing anything of economic value beyond spending accumulated wealth as consumers of other’s productivity. ↩︎