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Take a vacation. It's good for you and the economy.

Take a vacation. It's good for you and the economy.

Being a workaholic is not only bad for your health and sanity – it's bad for the economy. Really. Americans are notorious workaholics. We take fewer vacation and work longer work weeks than most others in advanced industrial countries. And here's one more piece of American exceptionalism: the U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world where workers are not guaranteed paid vacation time. As many as 23% of Americans get no paid holidays or vacation. Americans, like my father, who do get paid time off only take about half of it on average. Across the Atlantic, workers are guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days a year. In some countries, employees enjoy as many as 25 or 30 days. South Koreans closely resembles the United State's imbalanced work-life. In 2012, South Koreans worked the longest hours of any OECD country (forum of 34 countries with strong market economies). But they were only about two-thirds as productive as the average OECD worker that same year.

Americans are truly exceptional in that we work long hours and still maintain relatively high productivity levels. So Americans should take some time off to relax and recharge. It might even pay off in the workplace. The accounting firm Ernst and Young studied its own employees. It found that for every additional 10 hours of vacation an employee took, the company saw an 8 percent improvement in performance ratings. And guess what? Taking a vacation has trickle down effects. A study commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association shows that if Americans used all of their allotted time off, there would be an additional $160 billion in sales, not just in travel related businesses, but across several sectors. That would generate an additional $52 billion in earned income and 1.2 million additional jobs for the American economy.

So go on, take a vacation. It's good for you and the economy.

 

 

And the new Lincoln Ambassador is...

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