Being Hungover At Work Cost The U.S. Economy $77 Billion Per Year


As fun as drinking is, it can cause plenty of day-after chaos. The worst case scenarios are pretty grim. The best case scenario is that you wake up, check your text archives, glance at your FB activity, and discover that you haven’t made any choices that a restorative sausage biscuit with country gravy can’t fix. Maybe you’ve been kicked out of your favorite late night bodega for trying to juggle chicken-parm sandwiches at 4 a.m. — but you can bounce back from that.

As the Center for Disease Control pointed out earlier last week, excessive drinking costs the economy a hell of a lot more — roughly $249 billion annually. That includes spending on health care, as well as the economic toll of lost productivity, car crashes, crime, and deaths attributable to excessive alcohol consumption.

The study, which was conducted between 2006 and 2010, points out that loss of productivity in the workplace due to hangovers accounted for $77 billion in 2010 alone. That amount, when added to the sum of alcohol related absenteeism and other factors, adds up to roughly $90 billion. Keep in mind, that number does not include the cost of alcohol related deaths (which the CDC estimated to be one in 10 fatalities amongst working-age Americans).

In a recent Bloomberg Business piece, it was pointed out that “measuring such a big and abstract thing as economic damage from drinking is inherently imprecise,” but the CDC insists that, if the data is skewed, it’s because they lowballed the cost. In their study, they counted factors in which alcohol was considered the primary cause, ultimately leaving illness or death from other causes that may have been exacerbated by drinking out of the data.

In all fairness, the CDC paper noted: “Intangible costs like pain and suffering were not included.” That bit is only measurable by you. So maybe take one less shot. The economy, your body, and the bodega manager will thank you.