Is Friday 13th an economic drag? Probably not

Friday the 13th

A man looks with horror at his diary realising it is Friday the 13th.

When Friday the 13th rolls around, we often hear reports that the date is unlucky for the economy. Superstitious employees, we're told, call out sick from work, frightened flyers cancel plane tickets and more than a few of us won't leave the house to go shopping. So, is it true? 

Dan Ilves, senior vice president of leisure at Travel Store, is inclined to call it bunk.

"I've never heard of a client or had a client tell me they will absolutely not fly on Friday the 13th," Ilves said. 

Lisa Hale, who directs the Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment, says that while 25 percent of the population cops to being superstitious, only about 1 percent identify as "very superstitious." Those folks might avoid the workplace on Friday the 13th, but, Hale points out,  superstitious people help pump money into the economy, too. Someone, after all, is buying all those lucky rabbit foot keychains. 

About the author

Noel King is a reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk.

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