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The annual rite known as holiday shopping is an important
economic engine. Not only does it provide the U.S. economy with a major shot in the arm -- predicted by to the National Retail Federation (NRF) to amount to $474.5 billion in 2007, or about 20 percent of total annual U.S. retail sales – but it also means a nearby retailer will be hanging out a “Help Wanted” sign. (Note: The NRF figures include discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, but exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.)

During a typical year’s hiring cycle, the retail job total starts building in October, continues to increase in November, reaches a peak level in December, and then drops off sharply in January as staffing levels are reduced.
[ Source - Employment in New York State - 2007 ]