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Australian business owners are working the third longest hours in the world according to a new survey.

The Grant Thornton International Business Report found Australian business owners work 56 hours per week on average, ranking them just below India and Argentina (both 57 hours per week), and higher than those in the US (55 hours), mainland China (54 hours) and New Zealand (53).

Business owners in China reported the highest increase in stress levels, with 84 percent stating they are more stressed than in the previous year. Forty-one percent of Australian business owners reported an increased stress level since last year. Worldwide, business owners felt their stress levels had increased by 50 percent.

Business owners in Europe reported the lowest levels of stress increases, as well as the shortest working weeks, leading report authors to suggest businesses in Europe are leading the world in maintaining healthy work-life balance levels.

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