Monday, November 15, 2010

Oct. Retail Sales Back Close to Pre-Recession Levels

Given the strong increases in year-over-year sales tax collections in October for many states like Virginia (6.5%), Georgia (7.4%) and Texas (6.6%), it shouldn't be surprising that retail and food sales increased by 7.3% in October above last year (see bottom chart above).  The October increase in retail sales follows a similar 7.4% increase in September, suggesting that consumers are gradually gaining confidence and starting to spend again.  

Compared to a year ago, spending in all major categories have improved, with especially large gains in motor vehicles (14%), building materials (12.2%) and sporting goods (6.7%).  The $373 billion in consumer spending in October was the highest monthly total since August of 2008, more than two years ago (non adjusted for inflation).  October retail sales were only 2% below the $380 billion peak in November 2007 before the recession, and at this pace, retail sales will be above pre-recession levels within the next few months.     


At 11/16/2010 5:05 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

Is there a graph which shows if all these graphs are actually useful?

At 11/16/2010 8:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

I'm curious with regards to supposed increase in food sales (not restaurant sales), how can the governemnt differentiate the increased prices in food with actual amounts of food being sold to individuals and families?

Its easy to see unit sales in autos, sporting goods, or whatever increase or decrease but regarding food I would think that unit sales numbers are a bit more nebulous...

At 11/16/2010 4:22 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

Valid point Juandos. The Census Bureau adjusts its data for seasonality but not for price changes.


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