Home   Logon   Mobile Site   Research and Commentary   About Us   Call 1.800.621.1675 or Email Us       Follow First Trust: 

Search by Ticker, Keyword or CUSIP       
 
 

Blog Home
   Brian Wesbury
Chief Economist
 
Click for Bio
Follow Brian on Twitter Follow Brian on LinkedIn View Videos on YouTube
   Bob Stein
Deputy Chief Economist
Click for Bio
Follow Bob on Twitter Follow Bob on LinkedIn View Videos on YouTube
 
  Retail sales increased 0.8% in March
Posted Under: Data Watch • Retail Sales
Implications:  Another month, another set of nice numbers on retail sales.  Consumer spending on goods beat consensus expectations for March and is now up 20 of the past 21 months.  The last time retail sales were up this consistently was 1998-2000, during the first internet boom.  Compared to a year ago, retail sales are up 6.5%, but the growth has accelerated lately, up at a 10.4% annual rate in the past three months.  Sometimes a single category, like autos or gas, can boost sales temporarily.  However, excluding autos, gas, and building materials, sales are up at a strong 8.1% annual rate in the past three months.  In other words, retail sales gains are broad-based.  Notice that all these gains are easily outstripping inflation.  Adjusted for the consumer price index, retail sales are up a robust 3.7% in the past year and 5.4% higher in Q1 than Q4.  Mixing this data with today’s report on inventories suggests real GDP grew at about a 3% annual rate in Q1.  The sub-sector that jumps out the most is building materials, which are up 14.1% versus a year ago and up at a 24.2% annual rate in the past three months.  Surely, some of this is due to unusually warm weather.  But we also think it supports the case that we are in the early stages of a large rebound in home building.  In other news this morning, the Empire State index, a measure of manufacturing in New York, fell to +6.6 in April versus +18.0 in March.  So factories are still expanding production, just not as quickly.  However, the sub-index for employment improved substantially, hitting +19.3 in April versus +13.6 in March.

Click here for a PDF version.
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 @ 10:53 AM • Post Link Share: 
Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L. P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
Search Posts
 PREVIOUS POSTS
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in March
Where is the Recovery?
The trade deficit in goods and services came in at $46.0 billion in February
The Producer Price Index (PPI) was unchanged in March
Non-farm payrolls increased 120,000 in March
"On Your Own" Economics
Good Thursday, Good Friday
Initial Claims and the Employment Report Tomorrow
The ISM non-manufacturing composite index fell to 56.0 in March
The ISM manufacturing index rose to 53.4 in March
Archive
Skip Navigation Links.
Tags
 
First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINRA.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
Home |  Important Legal Information |  Privacy Policy |  Business Continuity Plan
Copyright © 2014 All rights reserved.