(NBC) -- The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase this year.
"Sales are going to increase by 4.1 percent, which is almost $600-billion, and that's the highest forecast we've put out anytime over the past five years," says the NRF's Matt Shay.
It's a far cry from the depths of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, when Christmas retail hit reverse.
Now the retail group says neither political uncertainty, high gas prices, soft housing nor struggling job market will keep shoppers from their appointed rounds this year.
"We're confident that if Congress and the Administration would resolve these issues...that this 4.1 percent projection would actually be higher," Shay says.
The projections by the Retail Federation line up with others, including the International Council of Shopping Centers.
All also agree online sales will climb another 12 to 15-percent this year over last.
While encouraging news to retailers, the unemployed have even more reason to be excited as well.
"We're expecting seasonal hires of approximately 600,000, could be as high as 625,000," Shay says.
The seasonal workers expected to be hired this holiday season is comparable to the 607,000 hired last year.