Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Illusion of "Pent-Up Demand" (Musical Tribute)

As seen in the charts, Americans overall are currently spending exactly like we'd spend if everything was perfectly normal. So where is the pent-up demand?

Come to think of it, I'd also like to know when we plan to return to perfectly normal.

October 7, 2011
FEATURES: September 2011 Auto Sales

September new-car sales rebounded to their perkiest pace since April, surprising industry watchers, and, frankly, anyone else who is at all aware of the overall economic picture, which seems to be fading back into recession. Pent-up demand seems to be the consensus explanation for the unexpected surge.

Perhaps the "Masters of Death" have some pent-up demand too. It's been a few years since their last appearance.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Retail and Food Service Sales
St. Louis Fed: Wage and Salary Disbursements
St. Louis Fed: CPI


MainStreetKate said...

I feel pretty normal... Of course... I got my first and only post-college-&-waitressing "real job" in 2007... As would be expected from one who highschool in 2000, right?

Perhaps this is the new normal. Or perhaps whatever the new normal is, is still evolving.

Time will tell. I'll have fun witnessing the emergence or the stagnation, whichever happens to happen.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Electric Company - Letterman

Light -> Night

I think I just showed my age. ;)

MainStreetKate said...

I had a http://www.hasbro.com/litebrite/en_US/ as a child. Before the internet was cool & it became an internet app. Do I get any "feeling-old" points for that?

AllanF said...

Wow, that is a little surprising. It implies the pent-up demand is pretty much exclusive to the 16.5% unemployed or under-employed.

If we could get those 39.1 million missing jobs filled, just think of the tidal wave of retail spending that would be released.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I never did grow up. I'd play with the Lite Brite right now if it was in front of me. Seriously. :)

P.S. My career was in gaming and it was a game that retired me. Hasbro bought the company I invested in. No joke.

Stagflationary Mark said...


It implies the pent-up demand is pretty much exclusive to the 16.5% unemployed or under-employed.

It does. It also implies that my spending behavior is very much in the minority. I'm permabearish and therefore bunkered. Most appear not to be. Go figure.

As you say, good luck with that.

MaxedOutMama said...

There is pent-up demand, but it is pent up not due to conservatism, but due to not having the money to spend.

The unemployed, the underemployed and the just plain employed-but-rapidly-losing-real-income cohort is over 50% of American households.

If you look at the details of retail reports, we are not spending at all as we normally would. That's an illusion created by rapidly rising prices.

Now liberating that pent-up demand? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAA. People would need jobs and rising real wages.

getyourselfconnected said...

Great post Mark, I always wondered about pent up demand when no one stopped spending.

Stagflationary Mark said...


People would need jobs and rising real wages.

As AllanF pointed out, once we return to the red trend line the world will be our oyster! (Assuming we can both find 39.1 million workers AND afford oysters of course. ;))

Stagflationary Mark said...


One might argue that even I didn't stop spending all that much, yet. The "apocalypse pantry" continues to grow, lol. Sigh.