Beneath the Headline Numbers, December Retail Sales Worst in 20 Years

From The Wall Street Examiner Email Bulletins Archive
January 21, 2013 - 1:57pm
Retail Sales rose by 0.5% in December (month to month) and were up 4.7% annually, according to the Commerce Department’s December Advance Retail Sales Report released last week. Those are seasonally adjusted idealized estimates. Neither figure is adjusted for inflation. The median forecast of economists was for a monthly increase of 0.2%. This continues the pattern of several months where economic data was better than expected. However, beneath the surface, the actual, unmanipulated data told a far different story. The retail economy stalled. Note: When analyzing retail sales, I’m interested in the actual volume of sales, not the inflation skewed dollar total. To get to the kernel of the matter, I look at the real, not seasonally finagled retail sales, adjusted for top line CPI inflation (not core which normally understates the actual).  Then I back out gasoline sales, which...

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