The Office Holiday Party Is Back, and That's a Good Sign for the Economy

The Office Holiday Party Is Back, and That's a Good Sign for the Economy
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This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine

Nine out of ten employers are planning to host a holiday party this year, up from previous years and the latest sign of the economy’s improving fortunes.

According to a survey by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which polled human resources professionals, 89% of companies are planning to host a holiday or year-end party this year. That figure is an improvement on 82% in 2012, and 68% in 2011. The survey wasn’t conducted last year, and a Challenger spokesman said this year’s holiday party survey was the rosiest since 2007.

The more festive mood shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, especially after several stellar months of job growth and some fresh all-time highs for the stock market. Those factors mean healthier profits for companies and have lifted optimism for both companies and individuals. Fortune last week reported that in the past 11 months, U.S. employers have added nearly 2.7 million jobs — the fastest job growth we’ve had since 1999.

Corporate offices are not only planning to throw more parties, they’re also planning to spend more on this year’s festivities, according to Challenger. And fewer companies are planning to host their shindigs on-site: around 30% said they will host their parties on corporate premises (down from 55% in 2012).

While it appears positive for companies to want to celebrate a good year, it’s important to remember that holiday parties don’t cost a lot.

“The memories of the most recent and very painful recession still may be too fresh for most companies to return to the type of decadent parties that were more common prior to the economy’s meltdown,” Challenger said. “But there clearly is a sense that it is okay to loosen the budget reins a bit to hold a respectable holiday party.”

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