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Spotlight on Statistics

November 2009


What activities do you have planned for this Thanksgiving? Perhaps cooking and enjoying a meal with family or friends, playing sports or watching sports on television, doing volunteer work, or shopping? Here's a look at some BLS data behind those Thanksgiving scenes.

Bringing Home the Turkey

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.

Chart: Average price per pound of whole, frozen turkey in U.S. cities, 2004-2009
Source: Consumer Price Index | Chart Data

Turkey Prices – The Producer Price Perspective

While the average price per pound of whole, frozen turkey paid by consumers was higher in all months of 2009 than in 2008, the producer price index for turkeys (including frozen, whole or parts) in 2009 has remained lower than the 2008 producer price index since June, 2009.

Chart: PPI Commodity Index for Slaughter Turkeys - Seasonally Adjusted
Source: Producer Price Index | Chart Data


Some Americans volunteer on holidays such as Thanksgiving. 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.

Chart: Percent distribution of volunteers by type of main organization for which volunteer activities were performed, September 2007-September 2008
Source: Current Population Survey | Chart Data

Thanksgiving Means Football

For many, Thanksgiving is about watching sports on television. Considering the millions of people who watch spectator sports, it's interesting to note how few employees — athletes, coaches, referees, as well as management and support office personnel — work in the spectator sports industry. Nationwide, the spectator sports industry averaged 135,532 jobs in 2008; compared to 135,416 jobs in 2007 and representing about one-tenth of one percent of total private industry employment. The nation's largest metropolitan areas generally have the most employees in spectator sports.

Chart: Spectator sports employmnet by metropolitian area, 2008 annual averages
Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages | Chart Data

Holiday Shopping Season

The day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and has been hailed as 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.

Chart: Retail Trade - 1 Month Percent Change, November 2004-September 2009
Source: Current Employment Statistics | Chart Data


Note: Data in text, charts and tables are the latest available at the time of publication. Internet links may lead to more recent data.

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