New Report Uncovers America’s Repeating Vacation Problem

Will We Stop Seeing Our Shadow This Groundhog Day?

Washington, DC—As Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow this Groundhog Day, Project: Time Off’s new white paper, Groundhog Day Every Day: America’s Repeating Vacation Problem, asks when Americans are going to wake up and stop seeing our vacation shadow before it’s too late. The white paper reviews trends in America’s vacation habits and the underlying cause of our no vacation nation.

Over the past two years, multiple surveys have looked into how much time American employees use. The findings are remarkably consistent: four-in-ten American workers (41% on average) are not using all their paid time off, despite the fact that 96% of employees and 95% of senior business leaders believe taking time off is important.

Compounding this, America’s vacation usage rates are rapidly falling. Employees report using just 16.0 days used in 2014 —almost a full workweek less compared to pre-2000 levels of 20.3 days on average. Since 2009, employees are using a half day less of vacation annually. If this trend continues, Americans will be using less than a workweek of vacation in 20 years and zero days by 2046.

“Americans need to heed this warning. If this trend continues, with every forgone vacation day, we put our personal well-being and relationships at risk. Not to mention the negative consequences for our economy and business success,” said Gary Oster, managing director for Project: Time Off.

Work-martyr behavior combined with a culture of silence around vacation is keeping Americans in the office. A majority (58%) of American employees believe that America’s work culture stresses productivity over personal balance. Further, nearly two-in-five workers (37%) conclude it is simply easier to keep on working than to take time off.

“Unlike Phil Connors in Groundhog Day reliving the same day and same outcomes, Americans don’t need to be stuck in this reality,” said Cait DeBaun, director of communications for Project: Time Off.  “Simple changes make a big difference. Whether it’s sitting down to plan your time off or talking with employees about taking vacation time, it wouldn’t take much to wake up from our vacation nightmare.”


About Project: Time Off
Project: Time Off is an initiative supported by the U.S. Travel Association to win back America’s Lost Week of vacation. We aim to shift culture so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion. Learn more at