June 14, 2018

May 2018 Retail Sales: Up 0.8 Percent, Doubling Expectations; April Revised Up to 0.4 Pct. from +0.2 Pct. (UPDATES: 4.0 Pct. 2Q17 GDP Growth Looking Likely)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:28 am

From the Census Bureau:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for May 2018, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $502.0 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 5.9 percent (±0.5 percent) above May 2017. Total sales for the March 2018 through May 2018 period were up 5.2 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The March 2018 to April 2018 percent change was revised from up 0.2 percent (±0.7 percent)* to up 0.4 percent (±0.2 percent).

Expectations were for a 0.4 percent increase, per Reuters.

Ex-autos and gas, May’s increase was 0.5 percent.

Increases in total retail sales during the past 9 months have totaled 5.2 points, which annualizes to almost 7 percent.

These are genuinely strong numbers.

The comprehensive revision of seasonal factors described last month resulted in a net increase of 0.3 percentage points from January 2017 to March 2018. Revisions to 2015 and 2016 resulted a net increase of 1.1 points — but there was no net adjustment to that two-year period’s final six months.


UPDATE: Today’s stronger-than-expected May and upwardly revised April retail sales figures should lead to upward revisions of second-quarter economic growth estimates, which before this report were as follows —

UPDATE 2: CNBC reports that J.P. Morgan is now predicting 4.0 percent.



  1. So much for that recession certain people were hoping for… Aww, I guess liberals are just going to have to come up with something else. Proof positive Liberal policies and ideas suck!!!

    Comment by dscott — June 14, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

  2. No, their secret recipe is predicting a recession during 2020. It’s just like a global warming prediction. It has value now, and most people will forget about when the time comes. I won’t.

    They’re not even predicting a recession. It’s more like they’re assuming it. Unfortunately, they have backup from outfits like the National Association of Business Economists, as seen here:


    “The panelists’ views about the onset of the next recession are mixed, with 82% believing it will start after 2019.”

    “Half of the panel expects the next recession will occur sometime between the fourth quarter of 2019 (Q4 2019) and Q2 2020. One-third suggests a later timeframe after the fourth quarter of 2020.”

    Somehow, these clowns never included any references to discussions about possible recessions in their Summary Outlooks before 2017 (the word “recession” only appears in 2017 and 2018 results in a search at that site). I called their media person, and she told me that they may (or may not) have discussed recession possibilities and included them in full reports available to subscribers only. The fact remains that they didn’t include it in their Summary Outlooks, even during and after quarters of contraction during the Obama era.

    About 10 days ago, the AP’s Crutsinger dutifully cited the NABE’s survey in a dispatch devoted exclusively to recession prospects.

    Comment by Tom — June 15, 2018 @ 10:45 am

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