Although the 2008 recession had a widespread impact on every aspect of American life, the daily, minute-by-minute breakdown of the American day appears to have remained largely unchanged.
John Robinson, a sociology professor from the University of Maryland whose research has focused heavily on Americans' time use, said the most striking aspect of the latest American Time Use Survey is how closely it resembles similar information from before the 2008 recession -- and from as early as the 1960s when time-use surveys first came into being.
The annual Bureau of Labor Statistics publication documents how Americans spend their time. In 2012, employed people worked for about 7.7 hours each day, spent two hours on household chores and took between five and six hours on leisure activities, with close to three of those hours spent plopped in front of the television.
For Mr. Robinson, the survey is evidence of social inertia.
"We went through the biggest recession in history, we went through the most economic turmoil," he said. "And yet we see very little decline in the time that people spend working."
In 2007, before the recession began, the average American spent 7.6 hours working on the days that they worked -- just a few minutes less than last year.
Comparisons over decades, possible because the surveys have been done for so long, offer insights as well.
Although today's Americans spend their time similarly to their counterparts in the decade of discontent, Mr. Robinson noted some important changes in the by-the-minute breakdown. Men and women spend much more equal amounts of time at work, on housework and on leisure activities than they did in the 1960s.
Time spent watching TV has inched upward with every passing year, and although Mr. Robinson expected Internet use to slowly eat into TV time, the Web has yet to take up a large chunk of Americans' time. The latest survey found men and women both spend less than 30 minutes of leisure time per workday on the computer.
Regardless, both Internet and TV use fall into the same category of activity: sedentary behavior.
Catrine Tudor-Locke, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana, has incorporated time-use surveys into studies of sedentary habits, which she said have only become a more entrenched feature of the American lifestyle in recent years.
The problem, Ms. Tudor-Locke said, is less about the amount of leisure time spent in front of a screen and more about the fact that virtually all aspects of Americans' daily life take place while sitting -- and the workplace does not escape blame.
"In the workplace, our jobs have changed so that we have much more sedentary work," she said. "We have ergonomically designed chairs that are so comfortable they actually make us even more sedentary -- so why get up?"
In compiling the survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics interviewed about 12,500 Americans of various ages, income levels and geographic locations.
Daniel Sisgoreo: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1410 or on Twitter @DanielSisgoreo.