The Atlanta Fed's macroblog provides commentary and analysis on economic topics including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, inflation, labor economics, and financial issues.
- BLS Handbook of Methods
- Bureau of Economic Analysis
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Congressional Budget Office
- Economic Data - FRED® II, St. Louis Fed
- Office of Management and Budget
- Statistics: Releases and Historical Data, Board of Governors
- U.S. Census Bureau Economic Programs
- White House Economic Statistics Briefing Room
May 09, 2007
Is The Consumer Ready For A Standing Eight Count?
The Wall Street Journal's Christopher Conkey and Phil Izzo think maybe so (page A4 of the print edition):
Signs are emerging that American consumers may be getting tired of carrying the economy. How much they pull back will be a major factor in whether the U.S. economy keeps slowing or whether the pace of growth perks up.
Consumer purchases of goods and services increased at a robust 4% inflation-adjusted annual clip in the past two quarters. But economists and retail executives now see signs that the anticipated slowdown is at hand. Gasoline prices are pinching, the housing slump continues and the labor market, which has provided significant support, is showing signs of fatigue.
The Journal authors seem to be anticipating that, when the week is done, the emerging picture on retail trade will not be a pretty one:
Amid concern about consumers' habits, big retailers issue April sales reports tomorrow, and the Commerce Department follows on Friday with its estimate of retail sales in April. Yesterday, Redbook research said its index of chain-store sales in April fell 4.1% from March. The International Council of Shopping Centers said its measure of chain-store sales last week was running only 1.7% higher than a year ago, the weakest ICSC reading since early March, when the index matched a nearly four-year low...
Sears Holdings Corp. last week said it would miss earnings estimates for its first quarter ended May 5. Chairman Edward Lampert said, "I'm sort of cautious about the economy." That added to downbeat assessments from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., which has said same-store sales in April were "much weaker" than initial expectations. Circuit City Stores Inc. has cited weak demand for flat-screen televisions, and Talbots Inc. and Bebe Stores Inc. noted lackluster sales of apparel.
Consumer spending accounts for 70% of all spending, so a slowdown is always significant, but even more so now with business investment sluggish...
A few things to keep in mind. First, retail trade, which does not include services, is only a piece of the consumption pie:
Second, over the past year or so growth in personal consumption expenditures has not been tracking growth in retail sales particularly closely :
I don't argue the article's broad point that there are plenty of reasons to suspect that consumers might retrench. But it is wise to remember that in the recent past the death of the consumer has been greatly exaggerated more than once.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to blogs that reference Is The Consumer Ready For A Standing Eight Count? :
- Behind the Increase in Prime-Age Labor Force Participation
- An Update on Labor Force Participation
- Another Look at the Wage Growth Tracker's Cyclicality
- GDPNow's Second Quarter Forecast: Is It Too High?
- Are Small Loans Hard to Find? Evidence from the Federal Reserve Banks' Small Business Survey
- Slide into the Economic Driver's Seat with the Labor Market Sliders
- The Fed’s Inflation Goal: What Does the Public Know?
- Going to School on Labor Force Participation
- Bad Debt Is Bad for Your Health
- Working for Yourself, Some of the Time
- July 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- Business Cycles
- Business Inflation Expectations
- Capital and Investment
- Capital Markets
- Data Releases
- Economic conditions
- Economic Growth and Development
- Exchange Rates and the Dollar
- Fed Funds Futures
- Federal Debt and Deficits
- Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy
- Financial System
- Fiscal Policy
- Health Care
- Inflation Expectations
- Interest Rates
- Labor Markets
- Latin America/South America
- Monetary Policy
- Money Markets
- Real Estate
- Saving, Capital, and Investment
- Small Business
- Social Security
- This, That, and the Other
- Trade Deficit
- Wage Growth