The median rates of unscheduled employee absences averaged 0.6 percent of scheduled worker days per month through 2011, which is down from 0.8 percent in 2010 and 0.7 percent in 2009, according to an employer survey by Bloomberg BNA.

This rate represents a 10-year low for the survey when absence rates have been as high as 1.3 percent or more between from 1985 and 2006.

As the holidays hit, absence rates did not increase from the third to fourth quarter, the survey finds. In fact, median monthly absence rates in the fourth quarter averaged 0.6 percent of scheduled work days. This marks steady absence rates in the first and third quarters and is down just slightly from 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2011.

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