A survey of 5,641 adults working full-time and research from the National Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 55 percent of Americans left vacation time on the table, up from 42 percent last year. Between 2000 and 2015, the average number of vacation days taken has dropped from 20.3 to 16.2. The findings are part of a bigger problem detailed in Project Time Off’s recent report “The State Of American Vacation 2016.” Despite its name, this is not a chill beach read. Then again, based on these numbers who’s going to the beach?
The report itself, courtesy of Oxford Economics, attempts to figure out what the hell happened to “America’s Lost Week,” the amount of vacation time workers have misplaced between 1976 and 2000 – along with their damn keys – regardless of being allotted that and more. American workaholics did not use a total of 658 million vacation days (experts projected 429 million) and 222 million of these days were lost completely. Not only is that a lot of piña coladas getting caught in the rain by themselves, it amounts to $61.4 billion of forfeited benefits.
As tempting as it might be to blame the economy, leaving vacation days behind hurts more than it helps. Using those leftover days would’ve meant an additional $223 billion in spending for the U.S. economy, 1.6 million jobs, and $65 billion in additional income. According to the research, even if workers just used one more vacation day on average, it would mean $34 billion for the economy. If you’re depriving yourself of vacation for your career, you’re wrong too — taking vacation time was associated with more raises and promotions overall.
The analysis did not find a clear correlation between economic indicators like unemployment rates and consumer confidence, but they did find one with internet usage. Increased connectivity has made it harder for people to stay off the clock even when they’re out of the office. Aside from unplugging, authors concluded that “The single-most important step workers can take is to plan their time off in advance.” Much like your sex life, Google Calendar is your friend (and if you don’t use it, you lose it).