Spotlight on Statistics

November 2009

Thanksgiving – Spotlight on Statistics

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For Thanksgiving, Americans visit family and friends, enjoy a meal together, play sports, watch sports on television, do volunteer work, or shop.

  • On many American tables the focal point of the Thanksgiving dinner is a roast turkey. In recent years, turkey, which stores often promote as a sale item for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, has usually been less expensive during November and December than in other months. However, with the exception of September, the average price of whole, frozen turkey was higher during November and December than in most other months in 2008.
  • Americans who did volunteer work at any time in 2008 were most likely to be affiliated with a religious or educational or youth service organization.
  • For many, Thanksgiving is about watching sports on television. Considering the millions of people who watch spectator sports, the spectator sports industry averaged about 135,000 jobs in 2008; representing about one-tenth of one percent of total private industry employment.
  • The day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. While many Americans shop, others work in temporary jobs during the holiday season. In a pattern that is seen year after year, the retail trade industry hires additional seasonal employees beginning in November.

To learn more and see additional BLS data related to Thanksgiving, see the BLS Spotlight on Statistics, on the web at www.bls.gov/spotlight/2009/thanksgiving/.

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