The upcoming solar eclipse will collectively cost U.S. employers $694 million in lost work, according to an analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in helping employees transition in their careers.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas reportedly calculated that workers will need 20 minutes to gather the viewing equipment needing for seeing the eclipse on Aug. 21. The eclipse will then last for about two minutes, according to the firm, but will still generate major losses in worker productivity.
The organization’s analysis said that 83 percent of people go to work on an average weekday based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Challenger, Gray & Christmas then used those numbers, along with the average hourly national wage and the number of full-time employed workers aged 16 and over, to reach its conclusion. The company did not factor in employees that may take time off to see the rare phenomenon, according Marketwatch.
USA Today reported earlier in August, however, that the eclipse will generate millions in tourist dollars spent in cities across the country.
Nashville is reportedly the largest U.S. city entirely in the eclipse’s path, for example, and will have an estimated 50,000 to 75,000 overnight visitors as a result of the event. Heather Middleton, who is on the city’s tourism board VisitMusicCity.com, also told USA Today that visitors are expected to spend $15 to $20 million there overall.
Kara Kuh of TravelSalem.com, meanwhile, said that more than 100,000 people are expected to journey to Salem, Oregon for the rare phenomenon. Salem is reportedly the first big city to see the eclipse, and such a total would roughly double its population for a day.
The total solar eclipse will cross the entire continental U.S. on Monday, Aug. 21 for the first time since 1918.
Solar eclipses involve the moon either partially or directly obscuring the view of watchers on Earth. Total solar eclipses are unusual as they require the moon and sun’s orbits to align in a rare moment of cosmic geometry.