Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Trip to the Mall: 2 Years of Bad Weather So Far

The following chart shows the nominal annual retail sales growth (not adjusted for inflation) at department stores, clothing stores, and food and drinking places per capita.

Click to enlarge.

If making it back to the middle of the declining trend channel is considered to be pretty good, then yes, retail sales were pretty good! Growth is no doubt destined to explode higher in the last half of the year. That's what the financial experts keep telling me and why would I think any differently?

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart


Troy said...

growth is over-rated!

Population age 20-60

The 1970s, 80s, and 90s each added 20M jobs, but the last decade only got 40% of the way there before losing it all:

1970-2000 was a vast intake of available labor supply, we've had ~130M jobs since then:

while that graph shows the full-employment population has gone from 132M of 1999 to 150M now (but it's flattening out at 150M as the boomers are replaced by millennials 1 for 1).

One thing I see is that the post dotcom crash "jobless recovery" lasted 2 years, from 2002-2004, while just 2010 was a recovery year for us.

Certainly there's more pull from the red line in the above graph for us to get more organic job growth from people needing work.

Key thing is plugging these people into the economy somewhere.

is a killer graph showing that if we had the retail employment of 2000 we'd have 3M more retail jobs now.

Thanks Amazon!

shows how we're turning into a McJob economy with food service jobs outrunning population.

But that trend is probably topping out, since food service is pretty zero sum game, even with tens of millions of boomers retiring soon.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Key thing is plugging these people into the economy somewhere.

That is indeed the key!

Unfortunately, I think the lock is busted, rusted, and tucked away in some secret vault in the Cayman Islands, lol. Sigh.

Gallows humor.

I only laugh because the alternative is to be driven absolutely mad, and believe me, it is a very fine line between the two. :(

Stagflationary Mark said...

The Onion: Report: Burying, Cremating Baby Boomers To Generate $200 Trillion In GDP

I think they nailed the sarcasm, lol.

Troy said...

Thing is, the Onion article is only a bit satire.

is an estimate of annual deaths of people age 50+.

(the input back in the 1950s was +4M/y so it makes sense the outflow is also ~4M/y)

This is the big difference between the US and Japan -- their aged population isn't going to grow much from here, 10% maybe.

Our senior population is going to double:

(between now and when I turn 70, LOL)

I like my chances better in Japan, maybe, though being a 60yo in Tokyo is a lot different than a 20 yo.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Thing is, the Onion article is only a bit satire.

Yeah, The Onion takes something we can relate to and then just extrapolates it to ridiculous extremes. That's what makes it funny, lol.

Here is one that really hits home for me.

I grew up in a small farming community. I went back for my 20th year high school reunion in 2002 (depths of the dotcom bust). The town was smaller. More than a few businesses were shuttered. The bowling alley had been converted into a video rental (bleak future).

Some of it was probably in response to the town being bypassed by a new highway at about the time I graduated. The old highway went right through the center of town. The rest was probably people like me heading off to college with little intent to return.