U.S. economy loses $7.4 billion daily, due to unrecorded work activities

As an observer of economic trends, I’ve been intrigued by a startling statistic: the U.S. economy loses 50 million hours in productivity per day due to unrecorded work activities. This translates to a staggering $7.4 billion daily. Let’s delve into this issue and understand its implications.

The unrecorded economy

The unrecorded economy, often referred to as the underground or shadow economy, encompasses all economic activities that go unreported in order to evade taxes or avoid prosecution. This includes income from illicit activities, undeclared tips, gambling winnings, under-the-table payments made to workers, and sales made in the black market.

Impact on productivity

Unrecorded work activities have a significant impact on productivity. Time tracking data reveals that activities such as unrecorded emailing alone can cost professionals up to $50,000 annually. This loss of productivity is not just a drain on individual professionals but also a significant blow to the overall economy.

The cost of not tracking time

Only 17% of people are actively tracking their time. This means that a vast majority of work activities go unrecorded and unaccounted for. Multi-tasking without time-tracking decreases productivity to 45%. This lack of time tracking leads to a significant loss in productivity, which, in turn, translates to a substantial economic cost.

The Way Forward

The global time tracking software market is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 20.40% in the period 2021 to 2028. The rise in the use of such tools can be chalked up to the need to monitor employees who work remotely due to the pandemic. On top of that, enterprises feel that it can improve worker productivity.

Overall, unrecorded work activities pose a significant challenge to the U.S. economy. However, with the increasing adoption of time tracking tools and a greater emphasis on accountability, there is hope that we can curb this trend and boost productivity. As we move forward, it’s crucial that we continue to shed light on this issue and work towards comprehensive solutions.


  1. Factorial: https://factorialhr.com/blog/time-tracking-statistics/
  2. Medium: https://medium.com/actiresults/how-to-manage-team-successfully-with-time-tracker-4453946fc40a
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets-economy/062216/how-underground-economy-affects-gdp.asp
  4. https://www.elibrary.imf.org/view/journals/001/2000/204/article-A001-en.xml.
  5. https://financesonline.com/time-tracking-statistics
  6. https://financesonline.com/time-tracking-software-statistics/
  7. GlobeNewswire: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/06/22/2251205/0/en/Time-Tracking-Software-Market-to-Exhibit-20-CAGR-by-2026-Report-by-Market-Research-Future-MRFR.html.
  8. https://hdr.undp.org/content/measures-unrecorded-economic-activities-fourteen-countries
  9. IMF: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2016/12/30/Comprehensive-Measures-of-GDP-and-the-Unrecorded-Economy-3911.

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