September 15, 2016

August 2016 Retail Sales: Another Clunker; -0.3 Pct. Overall, -0.1 Ex-Auto

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:01 am

From the Census Bureau:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $456.3 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, and 1.9 percent (±0.7%) above August 2015. Total sales for the June 2016 through August 2016 period were up 2.4 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The June 2016 to July 2016 percent change was revised from virtually unchanged (±0.5%)* to up 0.1 percent (±0.2%)*.

Expectations were for -0.1 percent overall and +0.3 perecent ex-auto.

So third-quarter retail sales through two months are down 0.2 percent — actually more, when looking at the reported numbers (August’s $456.321 billlion divided by June’s $457.409 billion is a 0.256 percent decline, which rounds to -0.3 percent).

We’re still waiting for the so-called rebound in consumer retail spending to appear. Here’s why it hasn’t, and probably won’t for quite a while:


There’s no money left after paying astorimically higher healthcare-related costs which have pushed onto middle-income Americans at an unprecedented level.

This is “Why Almost No One in the Real World Believes That Overall U.S. Living Standards Have Improved.”

Thanks, Obamacare.


UPDATE: Zero Hedge —

Having warned that retail sales could be weak (based on BofA’s credit card data), year-over-year growth in retail sales rose just 1.9% (its weakest since March’s plunge) and worryingly in historical recession territory. MoM data was disappointing across the entire spectrum



  1. Related specifically to Health Care:

    ObamaCare Driving Up Cost of Health Insurance

    Look at the 3rd chart down showing the rise in cost per consumer unit (similar to household).

    As of 2015, the amount of money paid by U.S. consumer unit households for health insurance has risen by nearly $1,300. By contrast, all the other subcomponents for Other Medical Expenses and Entertainment are within $120 of what the average U.S. consumer unit household paid in 2008.

    That outcome is a confirmation that ObamaCare bent the cost curve for health insurance in the wrong direction.

    Question: Given the ACA’s insistence on over charging premium payers to pay for the subsidy to other premium payers, does this not demonstrate a total failure of the law to lower the cost for everyone especially those who get the subsidy? IF indeed one set of premium payers is paying for the other set of premium payers shouldn’t the over all cost of health care stay the same? But then health care costs is not just the monthly premium but also the nickel and dime stuff of co-pays, uncovered out of pocket expenses, deductibles, etc.

    From my discussions with doctors over the years and reading articles, the cost of health care is actually driven by the bureaucracy of red tape via compliance costs.

    It is interesting that the cost of Lasik’s eye surgery has gone down, coincidently a NON covered optional procedure. Was that due to what? Competition that is unrestrained by bureaucratic meddling?

    Question: Is this observation true of other non covered optional medical procedures?

    Comment by dscott — September 15, 2016 @ 9:33 am

  2. Median Income adjusted for inflation IS NOT UP, BUT DOWN:

    Harvard Crushes The “Obama Recovery” Farce With 9 Simple Charts

    Median real household income has declined since 1999, with incomes stagnating across virtually all income levels. Despite a welcome jump in 2015, median household income remains below the peak attained in 1999, 17 years ago. Moreover, stagnating income and limited job prospects have disproportionately affected lower-income and lower-skilled Americans, leading inequality to rise.

    Comment by dscott — September 16, 2016 @ 11:09 am

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