Outrage about news could be hurting the bottom line

Controversial news, such as the recent uproar over immigration policy, could cost employers $832.5 million for every 19.2 minutes workers spend discussing and reading about it at work, according to calculations by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. If a particularly powerful story is in the news for a week, that figure could reach $4.2 billion.

And let’s face it: Most news these days seems to be controversial.

Challenger arrived at its findings by using data from the most recent American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a typical day, employed Americans spend 0.22 hours on organizational, civic and religious activities and another 0.1 hours on email and mail. With this benchmark, Challenger estimated Americans spend at least 19.2 minutes per day reading news and headlines.

A study by Nielsen on news consumption published in 2016 found that 169 million Americans read the news either through print, online or mobile means. Applying the employment-

population ratio to this group, 96.6 million American workers read the news. With the average hourly wage at $26.92, employers could lose $832.5 million for every 19.2 minutes workers spend on negative news.

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Then there’s the psychic toll bad news takes. A 2017 survey from the American Psychological Association shows more than 50% of Americans reported that news causes them stress, including anxiety, fatigue, or sleep loss. Twenty percent say they constantly monitor social media feeds, like Facebook and Twitter.