Retail Sales Per Capita had biggest gain in 21 years in May

This report is an excerpt from the permanent Retail Sales Chart Page. See that page for more charts and discussion. That page will be updated whenever new data is released. Bookmark that page for future reference.

Real Retail Sales Ex Gasoline Per Capita

Real Retail Sales Ex Gasoline Per Capita - Click to enlarge

Real Retail Sales Ex Gasoline Per Capita - Click to enlarge

Helped by the drop in CPI in May, Real Retail Sales Ex Gasoline Per Capita had their biggest year to year gain in 21 years (since  this data began) in May. May is always an up month. The month to month gain of 6.9% was the best May gain since 2007, far better than last year’s May gain of 2.2% and better than the 10 year average of 4.7%.

While the rebound has gained momentum it’s important to keep this in perspective. The current level of $673 per person in 1982 constant dollars, is just 6.7% above the May 2009 level when the depression was around its worst level. From 1999 to 2007 this figure was flat, but never less than $710. The current figure is still 5.2% below that level. In other words, on average,  people are spending at least 5.2% less than they were 5, 10, and even 13 years ago. Real retail spending per person stagnated from 2000 to 2007, then collapsed in 2008 and 2009.

Retail Sales Chart Page - more discussion and charts

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