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Photo: Hiroko Masuike via Getty Images

Consumers will deliver a robust holiday shopping season, thanks to a booming economy. But industry watchers forecast sales growth won't measure up to last year.

Why it matters: Consumer spending makes up a huge chunk of gross domestic product, and what they spend during November and December contributes to that. The holiday season can account for as much as 30% of retailers' annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

Last year, holiday sales topped $690 billion, a 5.3% increase from the previous year. That was the biggest year-over-year gain since 2010.

This year's estimates:

  • The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales growth to slow a bit, with an increase of 4.8% from the previous year. CEO Matthew Shay pointed to higher gas prices and tariffs as potential headwinds.
  • AlixPartners, a retail consulting firm, predicts retail sales will rise 4.1%, citing the potential for economic hiccups after the midterm elections.
  • Two other forecasts, from Deloitte and PwC, expect sales growth to hit 5%.

Correction: This item has been updated to fix the spelling of Matthew Shay's name.

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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.