Holiday Hiring Hits 5-Year Low at 135,000 Amid Changing Consumer Trends and Quiet Black Friday

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The decline in holiday hiring to the lowest level in about five years, with only 135,000 hires, reflects shifting consumer behavior. Black Friday, once a bustling shopping event, appeared subdued this year, and retailers face challenges amid changing trends. TD Cowen lowered its U.S. holiday spending estimate due to flat Black Friday traffic, and early discounts diminished the urgency of traditional holiday sales.

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‘A lot quieter’ Black Friday brings out discount hunters

Shoppers took to stores across the world on a Black Friday that appeared subdued compared with prior years, looking for discounted electronics, clothing and household goods in the kickoff to the holiday shopping season crucial to big retailers.

Brokerage TD Cowen lowered its U.S. holiday spending estimate to 2% to 3% growth, from 4% to 5%, as it forecast flat Black Friday traffic. Discounts in October and November removed the excitement and urgency of Black Friday.

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“People have already got what they want,” said David Klink, senior analyst at Huntington Private Bank, which owns shares of Walmart and Target. “There are only so many big-screen TVs and Alexa [Amazon voice assistants] you can buy.”

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