Reclaiming Common Sense

Last year we had a $6 Trillion Retail Economy that went under-reported.

We have had six months over $500 Billion on the way to our Second $6T year.

The Retail Sales numbers have been showing improvement just as prognosticators are proclaiming the imminent recession. Some of these savants are the same ones who were promoting the never ending recession that would ensue if Donald Trump was elected President. There are many ways to examine the sales data. This column uses the current year data, the trailing year(rolling year) data, and the same month data.

This month we saw a non-seasonally adjusted $545.940 billion in total retail sales. We saw month to month gains in to month gains in eleven sectors. The only sector that saw a month to month decline was the Building Material and Garden Equipment (BMGE,) sales sector. We saw August to August Growth in Motor Vehicle and Auto Parts (MVP) sales, Food and Beverage Stores (FBS,) Clothing and Clothing Accessories (CAC) sales, Sporting Goods, Hobbies, Books and Music (SGHBM,) General Merchandise (GM,) Miscellaneous Stores (MISC) sales, and Non-store Retail (NSR.) The July data was revised to $533.58 billion. The August 2018 level was $526.057 billion. This was the sixth consecutive month with retail sales over $500 billion.

The Current Year Growth Rate and the Rolling Year Growth rates were almost identical at 3.15% and 3.16%. We were growing at over 5% last year. The Current year growth dropped precipitously during the first month of the year in part due to the Government Shutdown.

The Seasonally Adjusted data paints a similar picture. We saw seasonally adjusted August to August growth in all sectors except GASS and EAS. We saw month to month declines in FHF, EAS, GASS, CAC, GM, and FDP. Some of the seasonally adjusted declines can be attributed to the spike in NSR sales.

The Current Year Growth and Rolling Year Growth rates were identical at 3.21%. The Same month growth rate was 3.58%, similar to this past November, this past March, and last month. 

The data indicates that the retail market is growing instead of slowing. The times that we see the rolling year and current year growth match are either at the end of the year or when we are in a transition. It is probable that we will see $500 billion dollar sales months the nest three months and it is possible that we will record our first $600 billion sales month during December. We are appearing to be transitioning to higher sales levels and stronger growth rates. Could we see 5% same month growth during the next few months? Yes.

It's the Economy.