Home Logon FTA Investment Managers Blog Subscribe About Us Contact Us

Search by Ticker, Keyword or CUSIP       

Blog Home
   Brian Wesbury
Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
   Bob Stein
Deputy Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
  Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in August
Posted Under: Data Watch • Employment • GDP • Inflation • Retail Sales
Supporting Image for Blog Post


Implications:  You can't always judge a book by its cover.  The headline increase of 0.6% in retail sales suggests the consumer is thriving, easily beating the consensus expected gain of 0.1%.  However, factoring in revisions to previous months, retail sales only registered a modest 0.2% increase. Also, the August surge in sales was predominantly fueled by a substantial 5.2% spike at gasoline stations, as pump prices skyrocketed by 10.6%.  In other words, higher sales were due to revisions and inflation and doesn’t reflect higher living standards.  With oil prices on an upward trajectory, we anticipate further increases at the pump.  “Core” sales, which exclude volatile categories such as autos, building materials, and gas stations – crucial for estimating GDP – inched up by 0.1% in August and were revised downward for previous months. Still, if unchanged in September, these sales will be up at a 5.5% annual rate in Q3 compared to the Q2 average.  This is consistent with our view that real GDP growth will be unusually strong in Q3, before decelerating rapidly late this year.  Consumers are starting to run out of excess COVID savings, which were boosted by temporary and artificial government stimulus payment.  Over the past twelve months, overall retail sales have risen by 2.5%, falling short of inflation, indicating a decline in 'real' retail sales.  While retail sales hit another record high this month, 'real' retail sales peaked back in April 2022 and have since declined by 2.7% from that peak.  Our view remains that the tightening in monetary policy since last year will eventually deliver a recession.  Expect more deterioration in real retail sales later this year.  In employment news this morning, initial claims for jobless benefits inched up by 3,000 last week to reach 220,000, while continuing claims rose by 4,000 to 1.688 million.  These figures suggest continued job growth in September.

Click here for a PDF version

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2023 @ 11:26 AM • Post Link 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.
The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial professionals are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.
Follow First Trust:  
First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINRA. (Form CRS)   •  First Trust Advisors L.P. (Form CRS)
Home |  Important Legal Information |  Privacy Policy |  California Privacy Policy |  Business Continuity Plan |  FINRA BrokerCheck
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.