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flickr: CarbonNYC

That’s how much time the average unemployed person spends jobseeking, according to a “fact” that can be traced back to Harper’s Bazaar.

Which means that all unemployed people are lazy shiftless welfare queens and we shouldn’t be extending their benefits because OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE NOT TRYING.

Sorry, we’re taking issue with this.

First of all, according to the American Time Use Survey tables that the Bureau of Labor Statistics sent us*, the average amount of time an unemployed person spends searching for work is .34 hours, or 20.4 minutes, not 18 minutes.

Second, that table averages the activities of every unemployed person, not just those actively searching. So if one million people are out of work, and 1 percent of those people spent the whole day looking for work, that’d average out to, uh, five minutes a day jobseeking for the population as a whole.

If you break it down into the people who actually looked for work on a given day, Americans spent an average of 2 hours and 12 minutes looking.

So listen. We think if you’re out of work you should be spending way more than eighteen minutes looking for a new job. You should probably be spending more than two and a quarter hours, but if that’s what “average” is, take heart! It’s not that hard to be above average.

So go out there and kick some butt with your two hours and thirteen minutes.

*We don’t know whether Harper’s used the ATUS to get their stats, but if they got their data from the DOL then we’re betting it came from the time-use survey.