Econintersect: Two analyists have each found totally different negative messages in the latest retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau. While it has been widely celebrated that reatil sales have recovered to pre-recession levels, one analyst finds that proper analysis of the data reveals that sales have not recovered even half way. Another analyst finds that inflation, especially in fuel costs, are accounting for a significant part of the current retail sales surge.Doug Short reports that when retail sales are adjusted for population growth that retail sales are less than 50% recovered to pre-recession levels and are currently at levels equal to those in the late 1990s.
Steven Hansen finds that recent inflation numbers and seasonal data adjustments distorted by data aberations in the Great Recession are leading many to see economic growth indications in retail sales that simply are not really there.
Sources: GEI Analysis (links in the article) and U.S. Census Bureau