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How Much Will Holiday Shoppers Spend In '13?

Northwest economists predict holiday shoppers will spend less this year.

 Put away those goblins and ghosts and bust out the elves. In stores, the winter holidays are already here.

But with fewer shopping days this year, some top Northwest economists predict less spending.

Economists say the Northwest is fairing somewhat better than other places in the nation. Seattle’s unemployment is markedly less than the national average and agriculture is doing well in Eastern Washington, Oregon and southern Idaho. But Northwest dwellers are still worried about their job security, furloughs and the shenanigans in Washington, D.C.

Dick Conway is a top-level economist in Seattle. He says while people there are buying more cars, electronics, home supplies and houses lately, “Clothing, food and even restaurants – they are growing at a slower speed.”

In Idaho, many jobs are factory or agricultural with lower pay or no benefits. So economists there expect modest holiday spending.

In Oregon, the unemployment is almost one percent higher than the national average of about 7 percent, due to many young and seasonal workers there.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.