By Emily Gillespie
November 8, 2018

Companies are hosting the fewest holiday parties since the recession this year, according to a recent survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The survey included 150 human resource representatives across the country, and 34.6% of companies reported they weren’t planning on throwing a party this holiday. Companies opting to have parties have remained high in the years since 2009, when unemployment levels were at their peak. The number of companies not throwing parties that year was 38%.

Of those surveyed this year, 27% of companies said they never hold company parties and 8% reported they were forgoing a party this year for various reasons.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas pointed to the #Metoo movement as a possible reason for the low numbers.

Of the companies throwing a holiday party this year, 58% reported they’d addressed sexual assault and harassment concerns with their staff this year and 33% said they would do so prior to the party, the company reports.

However, regardless of plans to celebrate with co-workers, more companies as a whole are reevaluating their policies when it comes to sexual harassment.

And while there are some indicators that the U.S. economy is doing well, there are still signs that we’re on shaky legs—so it can’t be ruled out as a reason for why companies are passing out less eggnog.

In September, unemployment fell to the lowest it had been in 50 years and wages have begun to climb. However, some companies have felt the effects of the trade war being waged by President Donald Trump, including tariff increases on goods from China and tariffs on aluminum and steel. They have put a strain on U.S. companies, causing some to layoff employees to cope with higher costs and others to move production elsewhere. There also remains a looming concern of recession.

Regardless of what the low party numbers say about the safety of workplaces or economic health of companies, employees around the country may be breathing a sigh of relief—since 90% of workers would rather have an extra day off instead of an office mixer.

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