Nov. 23 - Focus turns to turkeys and shoppers as Thanksgiving and Black Friday approach. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's an annual White House event dating back decades - pardoning a turkey just before the Thanksgiving holiday. This year President Obama pardoned "Liberty". But many other turkeys will not be free in what has been a growing $14 billion industry. According to the National Turkey Federation, some 46 million turkeys were consumed on Thanksgiving last year. On the business side, turkey producers are facing higher feed costs and wholesale turkey prices have reportedly hit a high per pound this year, but many supermarkets are not passing that on to consumers, instead choosing to keep prices low, in hopes that consumers will spend enough on side dishes and desserts to make up the difference. Ahead of Friday's unofficial start to the holiday shopping season, there are economic numbers to digest. Consumer spending barely rose in October, in a sharp deceleration from the prior month, as nervous Americans saved more. But in a promising sign personal incomes saw their biggest gain in seven months, which could bolster confidence heading into Black Friday. Meanwhile, jobless claims were up last week, but held below the key 400,000 mark for the third straight week, a sign the labor market is improving. Conway Gittens, Reuters