'Leap' second: how much was it worth?

During yesterday's extra second, Apple earned about twice the average UK weekly salary


Last night was one second longer than any other night for three years, thanks to a 'leap' second', the first since June 2012.

For most of us the change will merely have gifted us one more second of sleep. But time is money, so how much was the extra time worth to those earning (or spending) the big bucks? Here are five figures to put it into perspective.

5. Lionel Messi: £1.50

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

According to figures released earlier this year and reported in the Evening Standard, Lionel Messi is the world's highest paid footballer, with total earnings, including sponsorship deals, of a little shy of £48m last year. Divided evenly, this means he earns £1.50 every second, even when he's not playing. Not even worth worrying about.

4. Floyd Mayweather: £5

Messi's earning pale in comparison with boxer Floyd Mayweather. The Daily Mail says the American will take home £161m this year, which would work out at £5 per second. Given how little time he spends in the ring, his earnings translate to £3.9m per minute he was actually fighting Manny Pacquiao.

3. Greek debt: £188

We're into the larger sums now. Greece is the most indebted country in the world with its €323bn (£229bn) debt pile representing approaching 180 per cent of its entire economic output. Given the effective interest rate of 2.6 per cent it was deemed to have paid on its borrowings last year according to the Financial Times, that would equate to an annual interest accrual of £5.95bn, or around £188 every second.

2. UK debt: £1,078

Still, if you think that's high then the you'll find the figure for the UK even more disturbing. A much larger country – with thankfully much greater ability to service debt – the UK owes around £1.51 trillion (you can see the figure rising in a chart from the Daily Telegraph), with repayments this year set to be around £34bn. That's a cool £1,078 every second.

1. Apple profits: £1,103

A second to Apple, the largest company in the world, is worth more than any of these. Its second quarter results showed it made $13.6bn (£8.7bn) in the three months to the end of March, which works out at roughly £1,103. No wonder CEO Tim Cook was asked in May if the company wanted to buy Greece.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.