MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The average number of vacation day usage among Americans has hit a seven year high at 17.2 days, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association.

It reflects well for the economy, according to Augsburg University professor Jeanne Boeh.

“The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, so 3.9 percent,” said Boeh. “It’s even lower in Minnesota. People are feeling more confident.”

The study also noted Americans use less than half of the roughly 17 days for travel. Most days off are for chores or local trips, if they get used at all.

More than half — 52 percent — of Americans end the year with time left in the bank, and that statistic is climbing. Boeh, however, sees beyond the numbers.

“Some of those are self-employed,” she said. “Think about it. If you’re just starting a business, if you go off for two weeks, you lose two weeks of income.”

Christiane Cordero