Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inside The Data

Retail Sales

Retail sales increased by 2.67% from July to August. This move was considerably higher than economists were predicting. The dollar increase from month to month was $9.138 billion. The important thing to remember is that this retail sales number DOES NOT adjust for price increases. Therefore, if a good increases in price but the quantity sold remains unchanged, this number still rises.

Motor vehicle sales accounted for 67.1% of that $9.138 billion increase. I am not prepared to determine how much was due to the cash for clunkers program, but I would guess it was a considerable amount.

The other major contributor to this report was sales at gasoline stations. The number jumped 5.09% or $1.512 billion from the previous month.

So far in 2009, retail sales are running 8.65% behind last year's pace.


Producer prices increased more than forecast last month. The major culprit in this report was the rise in energy prices. We'll have to wait until the CPI report to see if these increases were passed on to the consumer. This will help us analyze the gasoline component of the retail sales report.

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