07 Sep
The (Nearly) $700 Million Solar Eclipse? The (Nearly) $700 Million Solar Eclipse?

The (Nearly) $700 Million Solar Eclipse?

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In case anyone was hiding under a rock on or about August 19 -- perhaps the better place to be with all those warnings about traffic and potential eye damage -- the Great Eclipse of the Century, as some billed it, came and went without much fanfare. Other than, predictably, gushy live broadcasts "anchored" by teeth-and-hair- advantaged hosts who couldn't seem to take a breath without letting it all out with every obvious comment and observation.

Costs to whatever might be left to the integrity of cable news stations notwithstanding, the latest solar eclipse appears to have cost America where it always hurts most: the pocketbook. Specifically, the productivity pocketbook.

Workers of all stripes understandably took a few minutes, some perhaps more than that, to get a glimpse of an event that won't again be visible in the United States until the year 2024. All that gawking, plus any other prep time to indulge oneself in the total eclipse experience, was predicted to have cost the American workplace almost $700 million in lost productivity.

That's according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data performed by executive and outplacement coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger predicted that workers would need about 20 minutes to collect their specially equipped viewing glasses and position themselves in a place where they could behold the two-and-a-half minutes of the most intense totality in their particular regions. In Chicago alone, that activity was pegged to cost around $28 million in lost productivity.

Based on an average hourly wage of $23.86, 20 minutes of unproductive work time equals $7.95 per employee, or $694,098,123 for 87,307,940 workers estimated to have been on duty during the eclipse.


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Read 884 times Last modified on Friday, 25 August 2017 05:53
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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