Black Friday Sales Predictions Uncertain, but Jobs Outlook is Rosier
But according to Consumer Reports, just 102 million people intend to hit the mall on Black Friday weekend, approximately 16 million less than last year.
Who's right? Better yet, who cares?
Well, if you're like the millions of Americans planning to shop Black Friday, it might matter as you attempt to estimate the crowds and what demand might be for doorbusters or the remaining deals offered throughout the day. But even more people are looking at retail sales in general, and Black Friday sales in particular, to gauge the state of our economy.
According to the NRF figures, the U.S. economy is on an upswing. More shoppers and more spending both indicate a better economic climate and help to push it forward. Less is, of course the opposite. NRF is often accused of being overly optimistic in its annual holiday sales predictions, but there does seem to be room for cautious optimism at least.
Unemployment remains high, but the jobs reports are less disturbing than before and retailers are hiring more people as seasonal workers this year than last. In all, retailers are expected to take on 550,000 workers this season, roughly 50,000 more than last year. Some can expect to stay employed once the holidays are over as temporary, or pop-up stores, become more permanent.
With spending predictions all over the place, a week before Black Friday, it's difficult to know what the final tally will be and what it means for our economy. The only certainty is that Black Friday 2010 will bring with it good deals. Let the sales begin.
Click on this infographic from Mindflash.com to see it in a larger size.