Thursday, January 14, 2010

Retail Sales Disappoint

WSJ reports:

U.S. retail sales fell in December unexpectedly, signaling restraint by consumers during the holidays as the economy wrestles with high unemployment.

Retail sales declined 0.3%, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires forecast a 0.5% increase. November sales, however, were adjusted upward, to a 1.8% increase from a previously reported 1.3% gain. October sales also rose strongly, up 1.2%.

Excluding the car sector, all other retail sales in December fell 0.2%. Economists expected a 0.3% increase. The numbers were a disappointment for the economic recovery. The retail sales data are an important indicator of consumer spending. Consumer spending makes up 70% of GDP, which is the broad measure of U.S. economic activity. Thursday's report suggests high joblessness is restraining consumers and will mute the recovery.

Forget about the overall total and look at the details. Driving more than half the contribution was an increase in the sale of gasoline (driven by the jump in the price of gasoline).

Source: Census


dblwyo said...

Fascinating - this would be really interesting to see the YoY changes of sale x gas vs. sales, wouldn't it?

Jake said...

year over year xgas follows the same path, but just not as large a sell off (when oil prices collapsed) and not as large a recovery (when oil prices rebounded).

Anonymous said...

r u sure?

From St. Louis Fred series RSAFS, the symbol for retail sales data reported this morning:

2008-11-01 345175
2008-12-01 335016
2009-01-01 342017
2009-02-01 343438
2009-03-01 339228
2009-04-01 338344
2009-05-01 339873
2009-06-01 342912
2009-07-01 342489
2009-08-01 350800
2009-09-01 343687
2009-10-01 347641
2009-11-01 353951
2009-12-01 352985

numbers don't look real bad at all...

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