Labor Day Spending Trends

August 06, 2018

How do most Americans spend the holiday that spells the end of summer and wearing white? By not working, spending money and grilling!

We will provide an overview of how people celebrate, spend and grill on Labor Day in this article.


The U.S. Labor Force participation rate is 62.9%, as of June 2018. This is the number of people age 16 or up who have jobs, are looking for jobs and are not in the military.

Of course, one doesn’t need to technically be a part of the Labor Force to enjoy the Labor Day weekend, which is one of 10 federal holidays.

The top Labor Day top activities are:

  • 44% spend time with family
  • 37% go outdoors
  • 24% grilling
  • 15% chores
  • 10% party


Shopping is another major Labor Day activity-57% of Americans planned to make Labor Day purchases. The average Labor Day shopper spends $58 and families spend an average of $150 on Labor Day weekend shopping.

The top Labor Day shopping plans:

  • 32% plan to go to a large big-box store
  • 21%plan to shop online
  • 28% will look for school supplies
  • 22% will look for clothes
  • 18% will look for electronics
  • 22% will look for indoor and/or outdoor furniture

What are Labor Day shoppers buying? Two different surveys came up with slightly different lists.

Top planned purchases from survey one:

  • 28% school supplies
  • 22% on clothes
  • 22% furniture (indoor and outdoor)
  • 18% on electronics
  • 10% mattresses

Top Labor Day purchases from survey two:

  • 43% clothes
  • 22% school supplies
  • 12% electronics


Labor Day is the 3rd most popular day to grill. About 128.5 million Americans will cook out during Labor Day weekend.

So what are people putting on the grill? Labor Day grilling preferences:

  • 32% hamburgers
  • 21% steaks
  • 17% hot dogs
  • 16% chicken
  • 14% ribs

Corn on the cob is the most popular side to throw on the grill.

Most popular flavors of BBQ sauce are:

  • hickory
  • mesquite
  • honey
  • spicy-hot
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