Watchers 'could cost US bosses $947m'

NEW YORK •American employers will see at least US$694 million (S$947 million) in missing output for the roughly 20 minutes that outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates workers will take out of their workday on Monday to stretch their legs, head outside the office and gaze at the nearly 21/2-minute eclipse.

And 20 minutes is a conservative estimate, said Mr Andy Challenger, vice-president of the Chicago-based firm. Many people may take even longer to set up their telescopes or special viewing glasses, or simply take off for the day.

"There are very few people who are not going to walk outside when there's a celestial wonder happening above their heads," Mr Challenger said, estimating that 87 million employees will be at work during the eclipse.

To get the overall figure of nearly US$700 million, Mr Challenger made calculations based on the Bureau of Labour Statistics' latest estimate for average hourly wages for all workers, aged 16 and above.

"Compared with the amount of wages being paid to an employee over the course of a year, it is very small," Mr Challenger said. "It's not going to show up in any type of macroeconomic data."

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

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2017, with the headline 'Watchers 'could cost US bosses $947m''. Print Edition | Subscribe