Thursday, September 14, 2006
I don't understand economic data
AP - Retail sales in August posted the weakest showing in two months as worried consumers curbed their spending habits. The Commerce Department reported that the nation's retailers saw a tiny 0.2 percent increase last month following a much bigger 1.4 percent rise in July.
So an increase in sales is a bad thing? Or is it just that the increase wasn't big enough? I guess that would make some sense, except that then sales would have to increase all the time. I'm pretty sure the economy doesn't work like that. And are consumers really worried? Are there vast swatches of people that gear their spending habits based on how they perceive the economy? Aren't these the same Americans that are deeply in debt because they can't control their spending on credit?
Much of the August weakness reflected a sharp slowdown in auto sales, which edged up just 0.4 percent last month after having surged by 4.3 percent in July.
Maybe people buy more cars during the early summer months rather than later, with winter on the horizon. Beats me. I guess someone might want to look into that. Someone who isn't me.
In another report, the Labor Department said that the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits fell to 308,000 last week, down by 5,000 from the previous week. The drop pushed claims to a seven-week low.
That's a good thing, right? Maybe Wal-Mart shackled a few more indentured servants to the rowlocks.
The tiny 0.2 percent rise in retail sales in August was slightly better than analysts had been expecting. They were forecasting an outright decline in sales of around 0.2 percent.
Would someone just tell me if this is good or bad?posted by the wolf | 9:23 AM