Friday, January 14, 2011

Retail Sales Set New Record in Dec. of $381B

The Census Bureau reported today that U.S. consumers set a new all-time monthly record by spending $380.9 billion on retail and food services in December of last year.  Without adjusting for inflation, this was the first time 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.  The highest-ever retail spending amount in December was almost 8% higher than the year-earlier level, and spending in every category except department stores registered annual gains last month, with especially strong gains in sporting goods (7.1%), motor vehicles and parts (14.2%), building materials (13.1%), and clothing (7.4%).  The 12-month retail sales total through December 2010 of $4.405 trillion was 6.6% ahead of the previous year's total.

For additional commentary see First Trust and Scott Grannis. 

Other recent positive economic news includes:

1. The Port of Los Angeles reported the 11th straight monthly increase in December for total shipping volume at the port on a year-over-year basis.  The 8.82% increase in December's shipping from its year-ago level help to boost shipping activity for all of 2010 by 16% compared to the previous year. 

2. Rail traffic for the first week of the year continued last year's ongoing trend of weekly gains in the amount of freight moving around the country, according to yesterday's report from the American Association of Railroads. Carloads were up by 20.1% and intermodal units by 8.6% for the week ending January 8.  

3. The November Leading Economic Indicators increased for both Korea and China.  


At 1/14/2011 3:47 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Interesting to note that retail sales are up very nicely but consumer confidence is down. Maybe less home ownership frees up more discretionary spending.

At 1/14/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger rjs said...

Over-consumption was what got us into the Great Recession. In fact, when we wrote our story of the top 25 people to blame for the financial crisis, the American Consumer was right up there on the list. The recession was when consumers were supposed to kick the consumption habit. The new buzz phrase "the new normal" is all about how we Americans are going to be less reliant on debt, and more thrifty

Read more:

At 1/14/2011 6:28 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

RJS, too few dollars got us into the recession.

When the credit market froze after Lehman, the economy fell off a cliff.

You can blame the government for not refunding our dollars.

But you can't blame the consumer for making rational choices.

At 1/14/2011 8:19 PM, Blogger aorod said...

I live in Illinois. The geniuses here raised our property and income taxes and they still expect us to spend more. What is going on? Oh yeah, we should borrow more.

At 1/14/2011 8:22 PM, Blogger aorod said...

With prices of food going up, it's not surprising. By the way, one ethanol plant can consume about 40 million bushels of grain per year.

At 1/14/2011 8:25 PM, Blogger aorod said...

PS Don't mistake inflation for growth. Growth does not cause inflation.

At 1/14/2011 10:42 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

And, that one ethanol plant can replace about 100 Million Gallons of imported gasoline, and 4 Million Gallons of Imported Diesel, and still feed a half a million cattle on high-protein DDGS. Oh, and produce the CO2 for about a gazillion and a half soft drinks.

BTW, I noticed from the link that the largest increase (16.2%) was in Gasoline Station sales. Maybe, that's why consumer confidence is down.

At 1/15/2011 8:19 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

Obama's economic stimuls plans are working !!! Americans are once again spending just like when George W. Bush asked us buy more chinese made stuff.

Spend baby Spend !!

At 1/15/2011 9:47 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

In the days when I used to be a young man they called this inflation. That's what happens when prices for some goods explode because the central banks are adding huge amounts of liquidity to the system.

At 1/15/2011 9:50 PM, Blogger juandos said...

My question is why is anyone believing anything from this Census Bureau?

This administration does have a track record after all...


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