Results are in: 2012-13 flu cost businesses billionsMay 28, 2014
This past flu season was both severe and lengthy for working-age Americans, and a recent Walgreen’s report indicates this is part of a longer trend that is costing businesses billions. The report analyzes influenza’s impact in 2012-13 on the economy and society at large. Apparently, the virus took a toll two- or three-times greater than in previous seasons across-the-board.
For instance, U.S. workers missed approximately 230 million work days in 2012-13 due to influenza, compared to only 100 million in 2010-11. On average, each worker missed three days in 2012-13, compared to only one each in 2010-11. Also, 6.2 million employees who traveled for work missed a trip due to the flu in 2012-13, while only 2 million did in 2010-11.
All told, influenza cost U.S. businesses about $30.4 billion in 2012-13. This figure is a staggering three-times the $10.5 billion total cost in 2010-11. Individuals also shouldered some of this economic burden, with a total $8.5 billion in lost wages accrued due to time missed with influenza.
With time, the overall economic impact for the 2013-14 flu season will come to light. With another year of data, the severity of what seems to be a worsening blight on American business productivity will become more clear.
Of course, in order to mitigate the growing economic impact of influenza, it is “important to take preventative measures to stay healthy, protecting both yourself and colleagues, and to reinforce flu shots early, as this is prime time heading into the holidays and peak season.”