Thursday, November 26, 2015


This festive season, or simply the holidays, is a time for gathering and celebrating with family and friends, gift giving, reflection and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.        

Rush to the Stores

$24.5 billion

Estimated retail sales by the nation’s department stores (including leased departments) in December 2014. This represents an estimated 41.2 percent jump from the previous month when retail sales were estimated at $17.3 billion. No other estimated month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey

Note: Leased departments are separately owned businesses operated as departments or concessions of other service establishments or of retail businesses, such as a separately owned shoeshine parlor in a barber shop, or a beauty shop in a department store. Also, retail sales and inventory estimates have not been adjusted to account for seasonal or pricing variations.


The estimated percentage of total 2014 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the estimated percentage was 18.2 percent. Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey and


The estimated growth in inventories by our nation’s department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2014. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey

$48.3 billion

Estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2014 — the highest estimated total for any month last year. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey


The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses in business in 2013. These businesses, which employed 383,066 workers in the pay period including March 12, are a popular source of holiday gifts. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 County Business Patterns

Christmas Trees and Decorations

$1.2 billion

The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2015. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($163.3 million worth) during the same period. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics


Estimated number of U.S. producers who grew poinsettias in 2014. California, North Carolina and Florida ranked in the top three for sales of the popular holiday plant. Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (pg. 42)

Where Toys are Made


The number of locations that primarily produced dolls, toys and games in 2013; they employed 6,538 workers in the pay period including March 12. California led the nation with 86 establishments. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 County Business Patterns

Holiday Names

Place names associated with the holiday season consist of a dozen places named Holly, including Mount Holly, N.C. (population 14,016) and Holly Springs, Miss. (7,574). There is Snowflake, Ariz. (5,644), Santa Claus, Ind. (2,479), North Pole, Alaska (2,178), Noel, Mo. (1,831) and — if you know about reindeer — Dasher, Ga. (959) and Rudolph, Wis. (433). There is also Unity, N.H. (1,615) and Peace, N.D. (28). Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

Estimated proportion of the nation’s potatoes produced in Idaho and Washington during 2014. Potatoes are a popular dish served during the holidays. Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service

$1.7 billion

The estimated product shipments value of candles in 2013 by U.S. manufacturers. Many of these candles are lit during Diwali (Nov. 11), Hanukkah (Dec. 6-14) and Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) celebrations. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census, Industry Series


The estimated percentage by which the U.S. Postal Service surpassed its own projections for package deliveries in December 2014. This marks an increase of 18 percent from package deliveries in December 2013. Sources: U.S. Postal Service and

Del Monte Green Bean Index

Shown below are a list of U.S. states ranked according to the highest concentration of Thanksgiving green-bean casserole eaters:



1.  Louisiana:  60% (expect to eat green-bean casserole this Thanksgiving)
2.  Oklahoma:  58%
3.  Kentucky:  57%
4.  Florida:  54%
5.  Wisconsin:  52%
6.  Missouri:  51%
7.  Colorado:  50%
8.  Kansas:  49%
9.  New Hampshire:  48%
10.  Maine:  46%
11.  Vermont:  45%
12.  California:  44%
13.  Mississippi:  43%
14.  Idaho:  41%
15.  Utah:  41%
16.  Texas:  40%
17.  Illinois:  39%
18.  Ohio:  38%
19.  New York:  37%
20.  Michigan:  37%
21.  Alabama:  36%
22.  North Carolina:  36%
23.  New Mexico:  35%
24.  Maryland:  34%
25.  Tennessee:  32%
26.  Massachusetts:  32%
27.  New Jersey:  31%
28.  South Carolina:  30%
29.  Pennsylvania:  29%
30.  Virginia:  29%
31.  Arizona:  29%
32.  Minnesota:  28%
33.  Indiana:  27%
34.  Georgia:  26%
35.  Delaware:  25%
36.  Oregon:  23%
37.  Rhode Island:  23%
38.  Connecticut:  22%
39.  Nevada:  22%
40.  Montana:  21%
41.  Iowa:  21%
42.  Washington:  21%
43.  West Virginia:  20%
44.  Alaska:  20%
45.  Arkansas:  20%
46.  Nebraska:  19%
47.  Wyoming:  19%
48.  South Dakota:  19%
49.  North Dakota:  18%
50.  Hawaii:  17%


Del Monte also asked U.S. and Missouri residents to rate their favorite "secret ingredient" -- a single, creative item that can be added to the casserole's iconic green bean, cream of mushroom, and french fried onion flavors to make it unique and different.  According to the survey, America's Top 10 most-wanted secret ingredients for green bean casserole are:

1.  Bacon (34%)
2.  Mushrooms (17%)
3.  Cheese (11%)
4.  Grilled Onions (8%)
5.  Almonds (7%)
6.  Sausage (6%)
7.  Bread crumbs or crushed crackers (5.6%)
8.  Garlic (5.2%)
9.  Jalapeños or hot sauce (4%)
10.  Sour cream (3%)


Del Monte also ranked its Top 5 most popular green bean casserole recipes (based on frequency on 2015 Thanksgiving dinner tables):

1.  Classic Green Bean Casserole:

2.  Bacon and Cheddar Green Bean Casserole:

3.  Sautéed Mushroom and Green Bean Casserole:

4.  Creole Sausage and Green Bean Casserole:

5.  Main Dish Green Bean Casserole

19 Dutch Firms Plan Investments in Rwanda, Reports KT Press

KIGALI, Rwanda, Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Upon hearing about Rwanda being a country with abundant livestock and horticulture opportunities, 19 Dutch companies flew in, to explore prospects.
The firms include: seven in livestock and 12 in horticulture. Among them is Pluriton, a company specializing in exporting eggs and chicks to Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Green innovators group, Bosman Van Zaal, and horticultural automation suppliers are also among the prospective investors.
With the help of the Rwandan Embassy in the Netherlands, the delegation, which arrived on November 22nd in the capital Kigali, were presented with several opportunities in the country as well as appointments with local companies.
Matchmaking sessions and workshops were held at the AgriProFocus conference 'Promoting Innovation and Trade in Horticulture' from 25 to 27 November, where over 500 producers, traders and input suppliers from all over East Africa gathered.
This arrangement was organized under the banner of "the Netherlands African Business Council and partners. Which included the Rwandan Embassy in the Netherlands, SPARK, RDB, PSF, AgriProFocus and Greenport Holland.
Part of the delegation interested in livestock visited the Rwanda Animal Resources Development Authority, livestock development organizations: animal feed factories, large meat and dairy processors and poultry farms.
There were also individual business and networking meetings.
Rwanda's dairy sector has experienced rapid growth with a reported milk surplus, presenting several opportunities along the supply chain ranging from breeding, fodder production and milk quality control to processing.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the country's poultry sector is booming and offers investment opportunities including; hatchery, fodder production, and egg production.
For example chicken meat production has increased by 78% over the last 10 years and egg production stands at 32% growth in the same time period.
Rwanda also presents the opportunity to utilize gaps in the horticulture sector. While the country still imports fruits and vegetables from neighboring countries, its untapped fertile volcanic soil presents excellent prospects for local producers and traders to better meet local demand.
The country also offers a large demand for skills, technologies and products that can increase production in horticulture sector.
Investors can also utilize the demand for fertilizers, irrigation equipment, greenhouses, processing equipment and seeds.
Rwanda's steady 7% growth rate, stable government and growing consumer base present the ideal opportunity for smart investors.