This is an update of the permanent page of Retail, Consumer Confidence, Housing and Stock Price Charts which will be updated whenever new data is available. You can bookmark that page for future reference.
Updated June 6, 2012
Retail Sales and Real Retail Sales ex Gasoline
Real retail sales, ex gasoline prices, and adjusted for inflation have been virtually flat for the past 3 years, and unlike nominal retail sales, they remain below 2003 to 2007 levels.
This difference is even more striking when you consider that US population has grown by 10% over that time. That means that real retail sales per capita have been falling for 9 years, a fact which no one in the Wall Street media mob ever mentions. It’s always about how much sales increased this month.
They’re talking about inflation, driven by the spending of the top 10%, not growth in unit sales, and not broader growth in real demand. The majority are buying less, not more. The idea of the “resilient US consumer” is a complete myth. Only the 10% is resilient. The other 90% is losing ground.
Consumer Sentiment, Stock Prices and Housing
Updated June 6, 2012
Consumer sentiment has been in a broad secular downtrend for 12 years. Rising stock prices no longer drive as much positive response in consumer sentiment as in the 20th century. This measure has recovered only to the levels reached at the bottom of the 1992 recession.
Consumers never bought in to the 2005-07 stock market bubble. While trending positive since 2009, in total they are even less enthused about the current one.
So watch out when you hear the pundits talking about “strong” consumer sentiment. It’s all relative. Other sentiment measures, such as those published by the Conference Board, Bloomberg, and Gallup, all show similar long term trends, but all focus only on the trends of the past few years in their reporting. This is highly misleading.
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