US Workers Are Taking the Most Vacation Days in 7 Years

May 9, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Workers in the US are using the most vacation days since 2010, new research from Project: Time Off shows.

The average worker in America took 17.2 days of vacation in 2017, 0.4 days more that those used the previous year. Of the days used in 2017, Americans used a paltry eight days for trips away from home. And the increased 2017 numbers still pale in comparison to the average of 20.3 vacation days Americans used to take annually from 1978 to 2000.

The US labor force has no mandate on vacation days, unlike many other countries around the world. Workers in France and Denmark, for example, legally get 36 days of paid vacation per year. Similarly, employees in Sweden get 34 government-sanctioned paid days off, and those in the UK get 28.

Although vacation day usage is slightly up by US standards, the bulk of American employees are still not using up all of their allotted paid time off. The survey showed that some workers felt vacations would make them appear less dedicated, while others thought their workloads were too heavy to leave behind or that no one could fill in for them if they went away for some R&R.

In fact, 24% of workers said they hadn’t taken any vacation days at all last year, and 52% said they left some days go unused.

But, Americans are missing out on more than just a chance to recharge their batteries when they forgo their vacation days. According to Project: Time Off’s calculations, American’s expired vacation days added up to $255 billion in missed economic opportunity and could have created $1.9 million jobs.

The survey was conducted by GfK online between January 4-23, 2018, and 4,349 Americans who were 18+ participated. Participants must have worked more than 35 hours per week and receive paid time off from their employer to count. The data was weighted and scaled. Additional economy analysis was provided by Oxford Economics.


Featured photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.