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Holiday spending tied to unemployment

Althea Chang

Regional unemployment rates, incomes and gender have a tangible impact on holiday spending plans, one recent survey suggests.

Unemployment rates have fallen year over year in the Northeast, for instance, and that's boosted consumer confidence there, according to Jim Schinella, CEO of, an online budgeting tool. surveyed 500 of its users across the United States about their holiday spending plans.

"In New England, in particular, we saw real strong numbers. The New England population is showing a high intent to spend more. In fact, like 85 percent of the people in New England are saying they're going to spend more, and for that matter also spend early," Schinella said.

"If you look at the Southeast, where we have high rates of unemployment, the numbers are clearly very different and people are really expressing a lot of caution, with over half of the people saying that they'll spend less," Schinella said.

One in five residents in the Great Lakes, Plains and Southwest regions are also more likely to wait until Black Friday to really start spending, the survey found. That compares with 7.5 percent of shoppers in the rest of the United States, according to's data.

The company also found that men are planning to spend differently than women. Men are three times more likely than women to use two or more credit cards to cover holiday spending, but that could be because men make about 22 percent more than women, according to Schinella, who cited Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

--By Althea Chang

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