Americans' vacation usage is the highest it has been since
2010, according to the U.S. Travel Association's annual "Project: Time Off"
Project: Time Off's annual survey of more than 4,000
American workers about their vacation habits found that American workers took
an average of 17.2 vacation days in 2017, an increase of 0.4 days over 2016.
This marks the highest level for American vacation usage since 2010 (when the
average was 17.5 days) and a more than full-day increase since Americans'
vacation usage bottomed out at an average of 16 days in 2014.
According to Katie Denis, vice president of Project: Time
Off and the report's author, some employers are giving their employees more
time off as they recognize the need for greater work-life balance.
"Knowing that we have to be a little bit more
competitive for talent in a way that we didn't have to be even a few years ago,
realizing that employee well-being and the stuff that they really care about in
terms of trying to find some balance and a life outside the office, these
things are factoring more heavily in recent years than they did when we were
dealing with an economic downturn and its aftershocks," said Denis.
While progress is being made, 52% of Americans had unused
vacation time last year (down from 54% in 2016). Employees used less than half
of their time off, an average of only eight days, for travel.
Work pressure still has the largest impact on vacation
usage. Of the employees who were concerned that taking vacation time would make
them appear less dedicated or replaceable, 61% said they were likely to have
unused vacation days, compared to the 52% overall.
The vacation time that was left on the table translated into
705 million unused days last year, or $255 billion in missed economic
opportunity, according to Project: Time Off.