Friday, December 14, 2007

Monthly Retail "Core" Sales

I figure if the government can strip out food and energy when trying to make sense of the underlying trend, I might just as well too.

Here's a graphical view of November's sensational(ized) retail sales data. Get the lipstick out. The pig is in need of service.

The shaded area represents our last economic contraction.

This chart shows retail sales excluding gasoline stations, food and beverage stores, and food service and drinking places (per capita and adjusted for inflation).

The trendline is a 4th order polynomial and simply represents what my eyeball seems to see.

It continues to look like it is rolling over to me, for what that's worth.

(I'm having a strange feeling of deja vu.)

See Also:
Retail Sales
Trend Line Disclaimer

Source Data:
U.S. Census Bureau: Monthly Retail Sales
St. Louis Fed: Population: Mid-Month
St. Louis Fed: Consumer Price Index For All Urban Consumers: All Items
BLS: Consumer Price Index
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mark this will make your day.

The dollar extended a strong morning rally after CPI inflation figures for the US came in above expectations, confirming Federal Reserve hesitations to cut rates too aggressively because of price pressures.

US CPI rose a monthly 0.8 pct in November, above analysts' expectations for a more modest 0.7 pct rate. Core CPI also surprised to the upside, with a 0.3 pct gain against forecasts for it to book another 0.2 pct increase.

The data reinforces the views that the US, like many developed economies, is entering a state of stagflation -- slowing growth accompanied by stubborn inflation pressures.


Stagflationary Mark said...


If you really want to make my day, find someone to tell me that I'm wrong and that everything is going to be okay!

I should add that I'd vastly prefer it if the person you find saw both the dotcom bubble and the housing bubble out the front window and not just the rear view mirror.

I might seem a bit picky here, but if my day is to be made I might just as well go for broke. Oops. That's probably not the best way to word that.


gaius marius said...

that's an excellent chart, stag mark. apples to apples!

Anonymous said...

Ignoring the trend for a minute, just think that a family of four trying to keep up with Jones' would be spending $855x4=$3420/mo ex food and gas?? Is that possible?

I know the Donald Trumps of the world skew the averages higher, but the numbers per capita seem huge in comparison to median incomes.

Please tell me I'm missing something.

Stagflationary Mark said...

gaius marius,



I wish I could tell you that you're missing something. Sorry. Can't!

The math double checks.

$386 billion in total retail sales spread over ~300 million people is nearly $1,300 a month per person. Your reminder of the family math makes me cringe.