Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Retail Sales Increase for 9th Month to Record High

The Census Bureau reported today that U.S. consumers set another new all-time monthly record by spending $389.3 billion on retail and food services in March, which was the ninth straight monthly increase starting last July.  Without adjusting for inflation, this was the fourth straight month since the recession started in December 2007 that consumer spending has surpassed the pre-recession, previous record-high retail sales volume of of $380.0 billion set back in November 2007.  March retail sales were 2.5% above the pre-recession level, and retail sales in the first quarter of 2011 were 8.1% above the same period last year. 

The highest-ever retail spending amount in March was 7.1% higher than the year-earlier level, and spending in every category except department stores (-3.3%) registered annual gains last month, with especially strong gains in auto sales (+10%), miscellaneous stores (+7.3%) and nonstore retailers (+12.4%).  Gasoline sales in March were up by 16.7% compared to a year ago, and were responsible for a large part of the overall March gain in retail sales.  
 
Gas prices today are about $1 higher than a year ago, but don't yet seem to be slowing down economic growth considerably.  Maybe it's because at the average fuel efficiency of 33.7 m.p.g. for new passenger cars, a $1 increase per gallon would translate to only about $350 in higher gas costs on an annual basis, at the average driving distance of 12,000 miles per year.

45 Comments:

At 4/13/2011 9:34 AM, Blogger gwynplaine said...

Mark Perry for president!

 
At 4/13/2011 10:06 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

President Obama Blames You for High Gas Prices
April 7th, 2011

President Barack Obama deflected blame for high gas prices yesterday, by blaming American consumers for their automobile choices. According to the AP, at an event at a wind turbine plant, “Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices.”

Obama laughingly said: “If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know…you might want to think about a trade-in.”

My comment: Americans are already buying smaller autos and less gasoline.

 
At 4/13/2011 10:08 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

these were only up 0.1% for the month if you take out gas stations.

that did not keep pace with inflation.

in real terms, this figure declined month to month.

 
At 4/13/2011 10:26 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Peak Trader,

If you watch the video of that incident, you'll see Obama also claims we could double oil production and it still wouldn't be enough to eliminate oil imports "by a factor of 5." Have we ever had a President so sure of himself yet so utterly clueless?

 
At 4/13/2011 10:37 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Paul, we elected a President who needed a lot of on-the-job training. It has been very expensive so far (in the trillions of dollars), and he still has a lot more to learn.

 
At 4/13/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

i'd go a step further and say that we elected a human interest story who is utterly unqualified to lead in terms of energy, understanding, intellect, and vision.

he's not a promising rookie to bring along, he's alex smith - incapable of ever playing at this level.

 
At 4/13/2011 11:03 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, Obama may be Nero.

 
At 4/13/2011 11:05 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"U.S. consumers set another new all-time monthly record by spending $389.3 billion on retail and food services in March"...

Hmmm, yet I'm guessing that the actual number of individual items or services purchased was quite a bit less...

From CNBC: Inflation Actually Near 10% Using Older Measure

'Since 1980, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way it calculates the CPI in order to account for the substitution of products, improvements in quality (i.e. iPad 2 costing the same as original iPad) and other things. Backing out more methods implemented in 1990 by the BLS still puts inflation at a 5.5 percent rate and getting worse, according to the calculations by the newsletter’s web site, Shadowstats.com.'...

 
At 4/13/2011 11:08 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Nero:

"Nero's rule is often associated with tyranny and extravagance...infamously known as the emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned"...an early persecutor of Christians...was popular with the common Roman people, especially in the East."

 
At 4/13/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I agree, Obama is the worst president since...well, he is the worst since George Bu$h jr.

$3 trillion spent on Iraqistan, and the WSJ says we are losing in Afghanie, and that Iraq is becoming a Islamic stronghold, tight with Iran.

At least Bush Sr, reestablished the monarchy in Kuwait stuccessfully, (albeit with the blood of American boys and dollars of American taxpayers).

I support Paul Ryan for president--maybe he can avoid spending trillions on solid waste, unlike like his two previous incarnations in the White House.

 
At 4/13/2011 11:20 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Of course, an honest assessment would rate George W Bush even higher than Theodore Roosevelt.

 
At 4/13/2011 11:34 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Of course, an honest assessment would rate George W Bush even higher than Theodore Roosevelt"...

Rate higher than FDR too...

Re: Obama and GE not paying taxes...

Well not quite true in a manner of speaking....

From Open Secrets: GE pays plenty of tribute...:-)

 
At 4/13/2011 12:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

peak-

at least nero, by all accounts, was a helluva fiddle player.

 
At 4/13/2011 12:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Gas prices today are about $1 higher than a year ago, but don't yet seem to be slowing down economic growth considerably. Maybe it's because at the average fuel efficiency of 33.7 m.p.g. for new passenger cars, a $1 increase per gallon would translate to only about $350 in higher gas costs on an annual basis, at the average driving distance of 12,000 miles per year.

New vehicle sales are way down from the peak. And if you look at what was selling over the past few years, you see large trucks and SUVs leading the charge. To be credible we can't keep making up narratives to sell a story that we can't really support by credible data and analysis.

 
At 4/13/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

People forget--we have the world's reserve currency. We can print money, give it to the oil monkey-thug states. They take it.

Even drug lords use the dollar. Hundreds of billions of US dollars are offshore, the accepted currency for in Cocainelumbia and Opiumistan.

God looks after drunks, fools, and the United States.

 
At 4/13/2011 1:06 PM, Blogger Eric said...

"I support Paul Ryan for president-..."

What for?

 
At 4/13/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Americans will live in smaller houses, drive smaller autos, buy fewer goods, etc., although, they'll get more government:

Small Cars Drive March US Auto Sales Higher
1 Apr 2011

Ford said buyers gravitated to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers because of rising gasoline prices. Sales of the new Fiesta subcompact jumped 56 percent from February.

J.D. Power and Associates predicted that nearly a quarter of vehicles sold to individual buyers were compact or subcompact cars. That is the highest amount since the Cash for Clunkers program encouraged people to choose more fuel-efficient models in the summer of 2009.

GM said gas prices will determine whether compact sales will continue to rise through the rest of the year.

 
At 4/13/2011 1:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

we elected a human interest story who is utterly unqualified to lead in terms of energy, understanding, intellect, and vision.

=========================

On the other hand, he is President and you are not.

In a competitive society with multiple standards and hurdles for candidates to meet, he was the one who came out on top.

Is this an instance in which competiton does NOT produce the best?

 
At 4/13/2011 1:34 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"In a competitive society with multiple standards and hurdles for candidates to meet, he was the one who came out on top.

Is this an instance in which competiton does NOT produce the best?
"...

ROFLMAO!

Been out in the sun to long hydra?

Really, that was very funny!!

 
At 4/13/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Hydra, do you really believe Obama and McCain were "the best."

 
At 4/13/2011 2:02 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"We can print money, give it to the oil monkey-thug states. They take it."

we? who is this "we"? can you? i sure can't.

if "they" (meaning the fed doing so for the federal government) do so, it costs us (as in you and me) directly as it devalues the dollar and drives inflation both of which erode our savings and buying power.

 
At 4/13/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Is this an instance in which competiton does NOT produce the best?"

you have to be kidding. first off, you think that the presidential race is a free market? it is nothing of the sort.

second, the bizarre externalities involved mean that very few qualified people would actually want the job.

third, the candidates are bought and paid for by interests that they fund, so the whole thing is circular. shower goodies on unions and they will fund your run. this makes it anything but truly competitive. the whole thing is a 2 party oligopoly.

finally, voters behave in consistently irrational ways that businesses nor individuals in their economic lives do not.

i recommend caplan's excellent book on the topic "the myth of the rational voter".

 
At 4/13/2011 2:21 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

"Even drug lords use the dollar. Hundreds of billions of US dollars are offshore, the accepted currency for in Cocainelumbia and Opiumistan."

The accepted currency in ColOmbia is the Colombian peso, not the dollar. Once again, you don't even know how to spell ColOmbia, so you should refrain from commenting on things you know nothing about.

But then you wouldn't have much to say around here, would you?

 
At 4/13/2011 3:35 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Morgan Frank-

Right, you go to Cocainlombia, and flash cash to buy the white powder, and they say, "Oh no, we want pesos."

Tell it to your bovine friends in Utah.

 
At 4/13/2011 4:11 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

First, that was me, not Morganovich.

Second, you've apparently been watching too many reruns of "Miami Vice." I repeat, the accepted currenty of ColOmbia is the peso. I guess you don't think there's anything there but drug dealers and cocaine?

You're an idiot.

 
At 4/13/2011 4:14 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Oh, and yeah, in your fantasy drug meetup they most likely would prefer pesos.

And that's because it's the accepted currency of ColOmbia.....

 
At 4/13/2011 5:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

benji-

that was a stupid response, even for you.

my point is that you are using this pronoun "we" as though it means you. you cannot print money, nor can i, nor can exxon.

the government does not buy much oil.

printing money does not benefit the real economy.

the "we" you quote is meaningless.

perhaps if your econ professors had not been imaginary, they would have told you that.

 
At 4/13/2011 7:11 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Morgan Frank and Paul-

First, try Sanka brand.

The turn to this page:

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/WCURCIR/

You will see there is a $1 trillion in cash in circ. That means outside banks. That's $3,000 for every man, woman, child in USA. Oh, the typical family of four always keeps $12,000 in the broom closet.

Actually, it has been known for a long time most of this money is in circ outside the USA.

You may recall a few billion showing up at an airport in Kabul, on pallets, heading for Switzerland.

Really, you guys need to read more.

And yes, the greenback is the currency of choice for Cocainelombia and Opiumistan.

Why do we always get close to narco-states?

 
At 4/13/2011 7:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Again, a time-series graph that is not adjusted for inflation or for population growth. Will Dr. Perry ever stop posting these misleading charts?

Dr. Perry is an optimist who does not seem to be interested in facts that do not support his thesis. That is perfectly fine because he does a great job at misleading those that do not pay much attention to the real world and makes it easier for those that do pay attention to make much larger profits by betting against the position that he is taking. As an academic he does not have to be right and certainly would not want to take an unpopular position against the mainstream thinking because there is no incentive for him to do so.

 
At 4/13/2011 8:52 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji,

Looks like you've at least learned how to spell Colombia, that's a start. Now I suggest you take a trip down there and try to make a transaction in dollars. Tell me how it went.

 
At 4/14/2011 4:26 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Paul

"by a factor of 5." Have we ever had a President so sure of himself yet so utterly clueless?"

Being sure of themselves and spouting nonsense is what politicians do. Any number that sounds authoritative will impress the equally clueless. Considering he was speaking at a wind turbine plant, there were probably few skeptics.

 
At 4/14/2011 4:46 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich

"perhaps if your econ professors had not been imaginary, they would have told you that."

Where are those "Learn Some Economics!" shouters? Have you had trouble hiring some?

 
At 4/14/2011 4:47 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"On the other hand, he is President and you are not. "

ooooh! Someone has struck a nerve here.

 
At 4/14/2011 5:43 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Ron H,

True, but I submit Obama is the all-time champ in that regard. That "factor of 5" comment revealed he knows next to nothing about a subject he lectures on repeatedly, and has spent staggering amounts of our tax dollars.

Or maybe he was just lying through his teeth, figuring correctly nobody would call him on it.

 
At 4/14/2011 11:32 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

benji-

you are still missing my point. (whether through stupidity or deliberate obfuscation, i'm not sure)

"we" do not get to print money. who cares who uses it? that's a completely peripheral issue.

how do i print money and use it to buy oil?

you say "we' like private citizens benefit from fed printing in any way.

seriously, can you just not follow this conversation or are you being deliberately obtuse to try to get away from the foolish comments you made?

i'd appreciate your letting us know as it would really help in figuring out how to discuss matters with you.

 
At 4/14/2011 2:31 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

True, but I submit Obama is the all-time champ in that regard. That "factor of 5" comment revealed he knows next to nothing about a subject he lectures on repeatedly, and has spent staggering amounts of our tax dollars.

Reality check. You have a law professor who does not seem to understand the Constitution. Why would anyone expect him to understand science, economics, or the energy sector?

 
At 4/14/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra, do you really believe Obama and McCain were "the best."

==================================

They came out on top, given the test, or series of tests, our system has devised.


If you don't think they are the best, then you must think we need a new system, or a new test, or both.

Within the construct of the Constitution, what would you suggest?

 
At 4/14/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

first off, you think that the presidential race is a free market? it is nothing of the sort.

========================

Where did I say anything about a free market?

Besides, "markets" can have constraints and still have competiton.

But since you brought up markets, are you suggesting that we somehow buy our presidents?

 
At 4/14/2011 5:01 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"On the other hand, he is President and you are not. "

ooooh! Someone has struck a nerve here.

=========================

Not really. After all, I'm not president either. I'm only saying that he made it and we didn't.

If we are so smart, why aren't we running the government?

 
At 4/14/2011 5:03 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

For what it is worth, I considered the factor of five comment to be a figure of speech, not intended for serious consideration.

 
At 4/14/2011 7:09 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Hydra, a friend ran for mayor of a small Kansas town. He had better ideas and was determined to improve the town. However, he didn't have the established old connections. He lost 80% to 20%.

 
At 4/15/2011 10:27 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Not really. After all, I'm not president either. I'm only saying that he made it and we didn't.

If we are so smart, why aren't we running the government?
"

That's just the problem, isn't it. Although one might sometimes think so, the President doesn't "run the government".

In reality, a lot less government, and "running" are in order.

The job doesn't require so much smartness, as it does a strong desire to control the lives of others on a massive scale.

 
At 4/15/2011 10:39 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

For what it is worth, I considered the factor of five comment to be a figure of speech, not intended for serious consideration."

When talking about a serious subject, supposedly with some authority and expertise on that subject, a figure of speech isn't appropriate. 'factor of five" has a very specific meaning. If a figure of speech was his intent, he could have said "lots" or "by a big, big, bunch". The use of something specific is an attempt to impress listeners, while saying something meaningless. Something Obama does constantly.

 
At 4/15/2011 5:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Paul

"True, but I submit Obama is the all-time champ in that regard."

I agree 100%. He is the king of doublespeak.

"Or maybe he was just lying through his teeth, figuring correctly nobody would call him on it."

I'd say it's probably 50/50.
I find I can't listen to his speeches. I realize after a while, that I'm hearing the sound a voice, but he hasn't said anything.

 
At 4/16/2011 7:54 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

They came out on top, given the test, or series of tests, our system has devised.

The system does not pick the best man or woman for the job. It picks the politician who is best able to ignore principles and is most willing to use slogans and simplistic arguments to gain votes by muddying the waters.

If you don't think they are the best, then you must think we need a new system, or a new test, or both.

Absolutely.

Within the construct of the Constitution, what would you suggest?

I suggest following the Constitution. Government needs to only do those things that it is empowered to do so by the Constitution. That would make it at least 90% smaller and who was President would not be very important because more power would be held by the state and local levels.

 

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