Saturday, January 25, 2014

Echoes of 2007

The following chart shows the annual growth rate in retail sales (excluding nonstore retail sales) divided by retail employees (excluding nonstore retail employees). It basically shows brick and mortar retail sales growth per employee. I am not adjusting it for inflation.

Click to enlarge.

The trend lines in blue (artistically placed by me) are exact copies of each other.

If this chart has merit then...

1. Do not expect retail trade hiring sprees from here.
2. The only accelerating this economy will soon be doing is to the downside.

January 24, 2014
Sam's Club laying off 2% of workers

Wal-Mart plans to lay off 2,300 workers at its Sam's Clubs, the company said Friday.

This is not investment advice.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Stagflationary Mark said...

Once again, I'm just pointing out a serious risk that the optimists seem to be ignoring.

Could this trend turn around soon? It's possible.

Will this trend turn around soon? In my opinion, probably not.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Here's an observation for serious economists.

If we can have pent-up demand in the aftermath of a recession then it stands to reason that we could easily have pent-down demand in the aftermath of an expansion.

I find it interesting that (as of today):

1. There are 9.9 million search results in Google for "pent-up demand" (keep the quotes for an exact match).

2. There are only 218 search results in Google for "pent-down demand" (once again keep the quotes for an exact match).

And what is the top search result for "pent-down demand"?

My blog! Seriously. I guess I'm the only one who wants to talk about it. We are certainly an optimistic society. I'll give you that.

Anonymous said...

You are a welcome antidote to all the bubbly....



Stagflationary Mark said...


Urban Dictionary: Bubbly


Shame on me for laughing but which is worse?

1. Waking up next to an unrealistic pessimist.
2. Waking up next to an unrealistic optimist.

I say #2! At least with an extreme pessimist your days will be filled with pleasant surprises.

"I braced for the eathquake and alien invasion as I was told. Neither happened! What a great day to be alive! Woohoo!"

Hahaha! :)

Some might think I am an extreme pessimist. I'm not. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been born when and where I was. Every day I take a hot bath and think how lucky I am. That said, I have very serious concerns about the future and they are backed by many economic trend failures. There's no law that says the average American's prosperity must go up over time just because it once did. Sigh.

Mr Slippery said...

All I see is us heading for a huge rebound! Look at the upside coming after the next crash. Once again, the bright future has me putting on my shades.

(I am thinking that was worthy sarcasm, perhaps even worthy of the Circle of Sarcasm)

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

All I see is us heading for a huge rebound!

It's like an endless all you can see buffet!

All that delicious food! None of the calories! Win win! ;)