Monday’s solar eclipse will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for most Americans (except Sergey Brin, he plans to live forever).
And because this ultra-rare celestial moment is happening on a work and school day we can count on thousands of people to take the day off, call in sick, or skip their regularly scheduled duties to watch the moon’s shadow block out the sun’s rays for a few minutes. And those minutes, when added up, will likely cost American businesses nearly $700 million in productivity, according to an estimate by outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In total, the company estimates that the U.S. economy will lose $694 million during the approximately 20-minute eclipse process. And that number, Andy Challenger, vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told Forbes via email, could be conservative.
“There’s very few people who are not going to walk outside when there’s a celestial wonder happening above their heads to go out and view it,” Challenger, told the New York Post.
To come to its economic conclusion, the Chicago-based firm found the most recent American Time Use Survey, which stated that 82.8% of employed people worked on an average weekday.
Then, the firm found that 14.8% of the employed workers work a shift other than a day shift, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Finally, it used the average hourly wage data for the number of full-time employed workers aged 16 and over, which is $23.86, to calculate total loss.
As the firm said in a statement, the cost to states and metro areas directly in the path of totality could see almost $200 million in lost productivity alone.