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Although Skift found 42% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day last year there are as many reasons behind this as there are U.S. states.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show private sector employees in southwestern states have the largest percentage of access to paid vacation time (80%) and southern states overall have the largest percentages of vacation access in the private and public sectors (78% and 76%, respectively).

Overall, last year nearly 25% of private sector American employees had no access to paid vacation time through their employers and that percentage has remained steady since 2010. Public sector workers averaged slightly more access (76%) and state and local government employees had the least access (59%).

We’re surprised state and local government employers, historically known for providing generous compensation and benefits packages to employees, offer the least access to paid vacations and it seems the amount of vacation time an employee is allotted may depend on what state he or she lives in.

Americans Have More Vacation Days Than They Used to

Americans can’t blame employers for giving them less vacation days as an excuse for not taking time off, at least in terms of nationwide averages.

In fact, U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the number of paid vacation days American employers offer their employees increased during the past two decades.

In 1992, the average American employee with a one-year tenure at his or her company received eight vacation days per year versus the 10 days they got in 2012. Someone with a five-year tenure averaged 13 days in 1992 compared to 14 days they received in 2012, not a remarkable increase but still a gain nonetheless.

Of course, this doesn’t imply Americans actually left their offices and disconnected from their inboxes. An Expedia vacation deprivation survey also found that the average American had 14 vacation days in 2013 but only took 10.

That’s four days of lost financial opportunity for airlines, destinations and hotels.

The Percentage of Access American Employees Have to Paid Vacation Time by Region

Rank Region Public/Private/Government Employee % of Access to Paid Vacation
1 Midwest, South Private 78%
2 Northeast, South Private (Northeast), Public (South) 76%
3 Midwest Public 74%
4 Northeast, West Public (Northeast), Private (West) 73%
5 West Public 71%
6 West Government 63%
7 South Government 62%
8 Northeast Government 56%
9 Midwest Government 55%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Tags: vacation
Photo Credit: An American vacationing near Merida, Mexico. davejdoe / Flickr