The Consumer Is Alright

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Includes: DIA, IWM, QQQ, SPY
by: Hale Stewart

By New Deal Democrat

This morning's retail sales report gives us confirmation that the consumer economy - about 70% of the entire US economy - is alright.

While we don't know what the CPI for January is yet, we do know that gas prices continued to decline smartly, so I am not expecting a number over +0.1%, and truth be told, I am not expecting a positive number at all.

Not only was January a positive both including and excluding autos, but December was revised significantly higher, from -0.1% to +.2%.

Here is a graph for nominal (blue) and real (red) retail sales:

For what it's worth, YoY real retail sales for January will probably wind up near +2.5%:

since last January's decline of -0.3% in retail sales falls out of the comparison:

Here's the bottom line:

1. Workers/consumers have more jobs, and are making and spending more money.

2. Producers of commodities, and utilities and transporters of commodities are experiencing a very intense downturn, that so far has not dragged down non-commodity industrial production at all.