The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $416.6 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month and 4.4 percent (±0.7%) above January 2012. Total sales for the November 2012 through January 2013 period were up 4.5 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The November to December 2012 percent change was unrevised from +0.5 percent (±0.3%).
First, in General Merchandise, sales were very slightly down January-to-January (comparable months 2012 -> 2013.) The rest showed year-on-year increases, but I challenge you to find a month-on-month unadjusted change in this table (left is current month, right previous.)
I left out the names intentionally, because it makes the point more-clearly when you don't get to play games with "but but but look at this area compared the other!"
Yes, I know last month was Christmastime.
But we live in the world of actual economic activity, and while "seasonal adjustments" are often subject to being "bent" by various political whims the unadjusted figures are something else entirely.
PS: If the 2012 -> 2013 totals are "accurate", which claim to be up 6.2% on the year, where is the money coming from to buy those things when wages are flat? Reality is that this goes back to the previous Ticker -- it is all government credit emission, which not-surprisingly has been about 8% of the economy over the last 12 months, that has driven this -- so while in "dollar terms" this appears to be a healthy number, in point of fact your purchasing power is going backwards.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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