By The Numbers

Black Friday looks bleak for workers

Marketplace Staff Nov 27, 2015
16 million

That’s how many people are currently employed by the retail industry, and an additional 700,000 have been hired for seasonal work as we head into the holidays. And many of those workers will put in long hours on Black Friday, especially at struggling companies like American Apparel. As the New York Times writes, Black Friday has become a sore spot for workers who are paid low wages and are expected to work on holidays.

6 years

That’s how long Didier Vakombua, an eye surgeon from the Democratic Republic of Congo, had to wait to receive asylum in the U.S. He fled his home country in 2008. Now, he works two jobs — during the day at a health clinic for low-income patients, and at night as a security guard.


That’s how many pounds of produce Grow Dat Farm, a program in New Orleans’ City Park that brings young people together to farm, hopes to get out of its seven-acre patch of land this year. The program is one of several initiatives to rebuild community in the area. Around 70 percent of the produce is sold, while the other 30 percent is made available for participants to take home.

$630.5 billion

As the holiday season gets into full swing, that’s how much the National Retail Federation forecasts that Americans will spend. And with more Americans spending their dollars online, that means online retailers and shippers need to meet the demand. That’s where smart planning and Big Data come in. But be warned: All the technology in the world can’t stop a storm from preventing holiday packages from being delivered on time.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.