Friday, October 15, 2010

Retail Sales Reach 25-Month High in September

Consistent with the recent trend of many states reporting increasing sales tax revenue for the month of September, the Commerce Department reported today that retail sales increased to $367.7 billion in September, the third straight monthly increases, and the highest level of consumer spending in more than two years - since August of 2008 (see top chart above).  Except for declines in May and June, retail sales have increased in every month over the last year.  

On an annual basis, September retail sales were 7.2% above the same month last year, and that marked the 11th consecutive year-to-year percentage increase in retail sales starting last November, following 14 straight monthly decreases in year-t0-year sales (see bottom chart).   This stronger-than-expected retail sales report provides more evidence of an economy that is gradually recovering, and should ease fears of a double-dip recession. 

See news reports here and here


At 10/15/2010 10:13 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

The Bloomberg link cites the low 0.8% inflation the last 12 months. This low inflation number excludes food and fuel. Since the numbers for retaile sales includes food then it should be noted that agricultural prices have been soaring the last month or two. Increased prices could account for some of the gains in sales.

At 10/15/2010 10:32 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Good catch Buddy!

'Hogs were up 69%, cattle up 16% so far. Sugar is up 52%, butter is up 35%' are ugly numbers indeed...

At 10/15/2010 12:43 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

The light at the ned of the tunnel.

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on Friday laid out a case for the central bank to take further action to bolster growth, citing the risks of prolonged high unemployment and a U.S. economy slipping into a deflationary spiral.

In a much-anticipated speech in Boston, Bernanke did not spell out details of how and when the Fed would take action. But the first option that he mentioned was a program of buying additional assets, namely government bonds, in an effort to drive down long-term interest rates and stimulate economic growth.

The central bank is widely expected to announce such a program, known as quantitative easing, at the conclusion of its next policymakers' meeting on Nov. 2 and 3."


We are lucky to have Bernanke as Fed chief now. He studied the Great Depression in detail, and served as an adviser to Japan, and saw the results of Japan's tight money policies. (You san see for yourself Japan is entering its 18 month of deflation, and 20th years of asset depreciation).

Bernanke is the picture of sobriety, calculation, intelligence. Somehow, the USA comes up with the right guys when we really need them.

At 10/15/2010 12:46 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

bernake is an academic who has no idea how the real world works and is mistaking a change in inflation calculation with a change in the behavior of price levels.

he's another bubble baby from the greenspan school.

i grant that there is no easy way to clean up greenspan's mess, but more of the same overly loose money that got us here is sure as hell not the answer.

step one for getting out of a hole:

stop digging.

this is going to create the mother of all moral hazards.

At 10/15/2010 6:12 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Milton Friedman on Alan Greenspan.

Inside the Economist's Mind
An Interview with Milton Friedman

Page 115

Taylor: Well, whatever the break point is, why do you think things have changed? Why, as you put it, does the Fed seem to be operating the monetary-policy thermostatic regulator so much better now?

Friedman: I'm baffled. I find it hard to believe. They haven't learned anything they didn't know before. There's no additional knowledge...What I'm puzzled about is whether, and if so how, they suddenly learned how to regulate the economy. Does Alan Greenspan have an insight into the movements in the economy and the shocks that other people don't have?


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