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What Is America's Hardest-Working Town?

Parade Magazine

Americans have never worked harder for their money, but which city is really cranking it? PARADE looked at a range of criteria to determine the Top 25 hardest-working towns in our country.

[Related: How happy are you at your job? Take the job happiness survey now.]

To come up with our rankings, PARADE considered:
Average Hours Worked

The first place to look for the hardest-working town was the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS tracks the number of hours worked in an average week, both nationally and locally. The more hours worked in a week, the higher a town's hardest-working score.
Willingness to work during personal time

The 9 to 5 shift can be brutal, but what about working nights and weekends as well? Mediamark Research Inc., in partnership with Claritas, provides consumer lifestyle data that answered these questions. Cities are ranked on answering yes to the following questions: "I must admit, I work most weekends" and "I don’t mind giving up my personal time for work." Towns that scored higher than the national average on both points scored higher positions on our list.

[Related: How To Jump-Start A Career In A Booming Field]
Number of Dual Income Homes

For some families, two incomes are necessary to support a household. We went to the U.S. Census Bureau to find the amount of households where both parents worked.
Employment Rate

As the economy slowly recovers, some towns are working harder than others to keep unemployment down, through both government policies and private sector opportunities. We used the latest employment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to judge this point.

Here's who made the top of the list:

1. Columbia, Missouri

Following the worst economic downturn since the Depression, Columbia managed to keep its unemployment rate below 6.2 percent, a remarkable feat in a state that has suffered steep job losses elsewhere. What industries helped the most? Education and healthcare. It's home to the University of Missouri-Columbia, which alone employs some 30,000 people, as well as six other colleges and universities. Healthcare is also central to Columbia’s job market. The town has six hospitals and the second-most hospital beds per capita in the country.
2. Hartford, Connecticut

What started as a Dutch trading post in 1623 has become one of America's hardest-working towns in 2012. A lot of that is thanks to the insurance industry—called the "Insurance Capital of the World"— tracing its roots to the creation of the Hartford Fire Insurance Group of 1810.  Today, the people of Connecticut's capital still know how to work hard. Hartford ranked second on our list of willingness to give up personal time for work.
3. Norfolk, Virginia

Home to the largest naval base in the world, Norfolk secured the No. 3 spot because its residents scored nine points above the rest of the nation in working weekends—and three points above the national average in willingness to sacrifice personal time for work. The city is experiencing a renaissance, as well—it added a light rail system in 2011.

4. Bloomington, Indiana

They may not clock as many hours as some towns (an average of 34.5 per week), but the residents of Bloomington love what they do. They ranked first in the nation for likelihood of working weekends (an astounding 15 points above the national average), and fifth in the willingness to sacrifice personal time for work.

[Related: Best and Worst Jobs for 2012]

5. Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The people of Tuscaloosa work a lot—more than 36 hours a week. Its better-than-average employment numbers come from the nearby Mercedes-Benz plant, where more than 4,000 employees produce the latest models for the car company. Michelin Tires and JVC America also have manufacturing plants in the area.

After compiling all this data, the results were clear: When the economy got tough, these towns got busy. Who made the rest of Top 25 list? Click here to find out.

How Hard Do You Work?

PARADE and Yahoo! Finance are teaming up to discover how Americans view their jobs and work cultures, their career priorities and prospects.  Would you fire your boss if you could?  Would you rather have a 5 percent raise or two more weeks of vacation?  Take the survey now.

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