8.8 Billion Hours Spent Completing Regulatory Paperwork

The Wall Street Journal today reports about an OMB study which indicates that Americans spent 8.8 billion hours filling out federal forms in 2010. This is down from 2009, but apparently due to a more favorable formula for calculating the figures.

Full article here: White House Tallies Hours Spent Filling Out Forms (paywall)

The OMB study indicates that despite supposedly decreasing in the past year, the burden has increased by 19% since 2000.

Various stats are offered:

  • 70M additional hours in 2010 for employers to claim a new credit for hiring more workers
  • 14.5M additional hours for restaurants to display calorie counts on their menus

The SEC also had the biggest year-over-year increase as a result of doubling its estimate of how long it takes to fill out its forms.

If you do some simple math, you can see that 8.8B hours equals roughly 4.5M full-time workers – or 3.8% of the workforce (153.6M workers – 14.0M unemployed, 1,928 applied work hours per person).

Many would argue this isn’t nearly enough, but I suspect the opposite is true – and it is likely to go well higher with ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and numerous other regulations in the pipeline.

Regulatory Paperwork Burden
Regulatory Paperwork Burden

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