The New Yorker has a thoughtful piece, one which avoids the usual polemics, that explores differences in American and Euorpean work patterns. The changes which have developed over the last 30 years are profound and now result in substantial differences in unemployment rates and vacation time (both higher in Europe), and worked hours, jobs created, and national wealth (all higher in the US).
The author, James Surowiecki, attributes the differences primarily to Europe's collective bargaining agreements with unions, which have resulted in shorter work weeks and more time off for existing employees, but fewer new hires (and higher youth and immigrant unemployment). Service industry jobs in restaurants and home care are much more plentiful in America. These are jobs particularly suited to new immigrants, and younger workers.
Richard Baehr 11 21 05