Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Since the early 2000s, it has been regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the US, and most major retailers open very early and offer promotional sales. Black Friday is not a public holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time. Similar stories resurface year upon year at this time, portraying hysteria and shortage of stock, creating a state of positive feedback. In 2014, $50.9 billion was spent during the 4-day Black Friday weekend, down 11% from last year.