According to anthropologists, people in preindustrial societies spent 3 to 4 hours per day or about 20 hours per week doing the work necessary for life. Modern comparisons of the amount of work performed per week, however, begin with the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) when 10- to 12-hour workdays with six workdays per week were the norm. Even with extensive time devoted to work, however, both incomes and standards of living were low. As incomes rose near the end of the Industrial Revolution, it became increasingly common to treat Saturday afternoons as a half-day holiday. The half holiday had become standard practice in Britain by the 1870's, but did not become common in the United States until the 1920's.
In the United States, the first third of the twentieth century saw the workweek move from 60 hours per week to just under 50 hours by the start of the 1930's. In 1914 Henry Ford reduced daily work hours at his automobile plants from 9 to 8. In 1926 he announced that henceforth his factories would close for the entire day on Saturday. At the time, Ford received criticism from other firms such as United States Steel and Westinghouse, but the idea was popular with workers.
The Depression years of the 1930's brought with them the notion of job sharing to spread available work around; the workweek dropped to a modem low for the United States of 35 hours. In 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act mandated a weekly maximum of 40 hours to begin in 1940, and since that time the 8-hour day, 5-day workweek has been the standard in the United States. Adjustments in various places, however, show that this standard is not immutable. In 1987, for example, German metalworkers struck for and received a 37.5-hour workweek; and in 1990 many workers in Britain won a 37-hour week. Since 1989, the Japanese government has moved from a 6- to a 5-day workweek and has set a national target of 1,800 work hours per year for the average worker. The average amount of work per year in Japan in 1989 was 2,088 hours per worker, compared to 1,957 for the United States and 1,646 for France.
1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) Why people in preindustrial societies worked few hours per week
(B) Changes that have occurred in the number of hours that people work per week
(C) A comparison of the number of hours worked per year in several industries
(D) Working conditions during the Industrial Revolution
2. Compared to preiudustrial times, the number of hours in the workweek in the nineteenth century
(A) remained constant
(B) decreased slightly
(C) decreased significantly
(D) increased significantly
3. The word norm in line 5 is closest in meaning to
4. The word henceforth in line 13 is closest in meaning to
(A) in the end
(B) for a brief period
(C) from that time on
(D) on occasion
5. The idea mentioned in line 15 refers to
(A) the 60-hour workweek
(B) the reduction in the cost of automobiles
(C) the reduction in the workweek at some automobile factories
(D) the criticism of Ford by United States Steel and Westinghouse
6. What is one reason for the change in the length of the workweek for the average worker in the
United States during the 1930's?
(A) Several people sometimes shared a single job.
(B) Labor strikes in several countries influenced labor policy in the United States.
(C) Several corporations increased the length of the workweek.
(D) The United States government instituted a 35-hour workweek.
7. Which of the following is mentioned as one of the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act of
(A) to discourage workers from asking for increased wages
(B) to establish a limit on the number of hours in the workweek
(C) to allow employers to set the length of the workweek for their workers
(D) to restrict trade with countries that had a long workweek
8. The word mandated in line 18 is closest in meaning to
9. The word immutable in line 21 is closest in meaning to
10. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as evidence that the length of the workweek has
been declining since the nineteenth century?
(A) The half-day holiday (line 7)
(B) Henry Ford (lines 11-12)
(C) United States Steel and Westinghouse (line 14-15)
(D) German metalworkers (line 21)
11. According to the passage , one goal of the Japanese government is to reduce the average
annual amount of work to
(A) 1,646 hours
(B) 1,800 hours
(C) 1,957 hours
(D) 2,088 hours