Solar eclipse coming with nearly US$700M tab for US employers

Marco Green
August 21, 2017

It also pales when compared with the myriad other distractions in the workplace, such as the shopping phenomenon known as Cyber Monday.

The first solar eclipse visible in the USA since 1979 will take place in the middle of the workday, which may cost employers as much as $694 million in lost productivity, according to global outplacement and coaching firm Challenger, Grey & Christmas, which analyzed wage and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This show will cover the path of totality the eclipse will take across the United States, from OR to SC.

And 20 minutes is a conservative estimate, said Mr Andy Challenger, vice-president of the Chicago-based firm.

The cost to states and metro areas directly in the path of the eclipse, where traffic is expected to increase substantially, could see nearly $200 million in lost productivity combined.

CGC claimed that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) most recent survey in 2016 shows that 82.8 percent employed citizens work an average weekday schedule, whereas the remainder doesn't (i.e. night shifts, rotating shifts, etc.). To get the overall figure of almost $700 million, Challenger multiplied that by the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest estimate for average hourly wages for all workers 16 and over.

Today's the day the total solar eclipse distracts America from, well, everything. But it's probably going to be hard to get work out of people while the eclipse is happening.

"Since this is happening over the lunch hours, the financial impact is minimal".

Events like this are likely to have an outsized effect on smaller companies, Challenger said. It offers a great opportunity to boost morale.

The next solar eclipse visible from parts of the USA takes place on October 14, 2023. "Employers could offer lunch to their staff, give instructions on how to make viewing devices, and watch together as a team".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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