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Gallup Consumer Spending Data Refutes Commerce Department January Retail Sales Announcement

Tyler Durden's picture


As if anyone needed more reasons to doubt the data coming out of our government. Earlier today the Commerce Department reported that January retail sales data came at a nice and bubbly 0.5% sequential increase, and an even nicer and bubblier 4.7% YoY. This presumably beat expectations which were looking for a sequential beat of 0.3%. Yet here comes the much more reliable Gallup data to throw some salt in yet another economic data fabrication. According to daily Gallup consumer polling, which due to its lack of proximity to the government propaganda complex is vastly more reliable, the January average data showed a decline of 5.8% over January 2009 and a whopping 16.3% decline over December. This is beginning to parallel the ever increasing divergence between the ABC consumer comfort index and the UMichigan index which lately seems to only track the average leve of the S&P over the prior month.

The chart below shows the true consumer spending behavior of Americans.

The gallup methodology is much more accurate than anything that could possible come out of the Commerce Department with its infinite data "adjustments."

Gallup's consumer spending measure tracks the average dollar amount
Americans report spending or charging on a daily basis, not counting
the purchase of a home, motor vehicle, or normal household bills.
Respondents are asked to reflect on the day prior to being surveyed and
results are presented here in both a 3-day and 14-day rolling average.

And here is how the Census Bureau determines its data:

The advance estimates are based on a subsample of the Census Bureau's
full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is
used to select approximately 5,000 retail and food services firms whose sales
are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of over
three million retail and food services firms.
Responding firms account for approximately
65% of the MARTS dollar volume estimate. For an explanation of the measures
of sampling variability included in this report, please see the Reliability
of Estimates section on the last page of this publication.

Feel free to decide whom you trust.

h/t Geoffrey Batt


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Fri, 02/12/2010 - 14:27 | Link to Comment drbill
drbill's picture

I trust "everything" my government tells me...  Oops, there I go again, using words that are the opposite of what I really mean.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:08 | Link to Comment strike for retu...
strike for return to reality's picture

A little optimistic with the use of "my government".  I suspect no ZH posters can afford to own any of this government.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 14:59 | Link to Comment PD Quig
PD Quig's picture

The USG data game will continue unabated...until it can no longer continue. I recall that every game of 'Hide and Seek' eventually ended when we got called to come in, take a bath, and go to bed.

Bath time is coming, and it's going to leave a nosty ring in the tub.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:10 | Link to Comment pooplagrande
pooplagrande's picture

Trust me sheeple...this is much more accurate. I run a nationwide retail store and represent hundreds of manufacturers/designers. I speak to them and others in my field constantly. I don't even need these polls to tell me. The consumer is in hibernation...and the government wants to spin (that means lie by the way) the numbers to increase confidence.

Sat, 02/13/2010 - 14:12 | Link to Comment Postal
Postal's picture

As a consumer, I'll agree with you; however, I'd like to offer my own $0.02:

First, after being out of work for two years (26 months actually), I'm in no mood to spend money I'm lucky to have. I pay just above the minimums on my student loans and CC bills and save the rest. Until the job situation improves, nothing else matters. I spent the first three months of my current job waking in a cold sweat, afraid I would lose this job.

Second, even when I do find item(s) I would like to purchase with my meger disposable income, customer service at most retail establishments is downright awful. Absolutely nothing matters except making a sale. Even minor deviations, for which I'm certainly willing to pay, are unacceptable (i.e., properly wrapping my order to prevent damage during shipment). It's always the same: Upsell crap I don't need, push the store CC, talk up the return policy. Do everything possible to take my money--except actually help me solve a problem.

My observation is thus: The business community brought it on themselves by outsourcing good paying jobs and piss-poor customer service.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:17 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:23 | Link to Comment ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

From earlier today on Bloomberg:

regarding the gov report comes this

"Stockpiles Drop

A third report today showed inventories at U.S. businesses unexpectedly fell in December for the first time in three months as companies couldn’t keep up with increasing demand. Macy’s Inc. and Gap Inc. are among retailers driving profits up by keeping stockpiles lean after the biggest household spending slump in three decades."

Now I do not claim to know much less understand, but I thought a good deal of the Q4 GDP print was due to an inventory build and this sounds not that.  Can't keep up with increasing (consumer) demand - REALLY?




Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:24 | Link to Comment Great Depressio...
Great Depression Trader's picture

This morning when I saw the retail data I automatically knew that the numbers were fudged. Then comes out a nice report from ZH and now we see how dismal the numbers truly are. The sad part is that the sheeple will only see the headline gov number and will believe it. Thats their problem if they like being lied to.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:43 | Link to Comment Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

No. They'll retrench super hard, not this pussy ass entrenchment. Then see what gets said.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:30 | Link to Comment Ivanovich
Ivanovich's picture

Market goes back up!  All the doom and gloom does nothing to stop it :(

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:33 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:33 | Link to Comment Going Down
Going Down's picture


Trust Polls?


In a New York Times/CBS News survey out Friday, 31 percent of Americans said the Bush administration is at fault for the current state of the economy while only 7 percent pointed their finger at President Obama and his team.

An additional 23 percent said the fault lies with Wall Street institutions while 13 percent assign the blame to Congress. Nearly 10 percent said the blame lies with all of them.



Fri, 02/12/2010 - 18:00 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:42 | Link to Comment Rick64
Rick64's picture

Spinning numbers, I am getting so dizzy. We just layed off about 50% of our workforce and clients have backed out of orders. QE had an effect for a while and now seems to be fizzling. The orders are for 20-50 million dollar yachts, not exactly retail sales but a good indicator of how wealthy people feel.

Sat, 02/13/2010 - 15:02 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:53 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 15:54 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture

"Hi, I'm from the government and here to help you."


If you truly are upset at what is transpiring, remove all funds other than what is necessary from your bank accounts, cash in all stocks and buy gold and/or silver (physical holding). This is the only way to vote with your money and send a message to the banking and investment system.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 16:33 | Link to Comment Rick64
Rick64's picture

 I have and I want to do more.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 20:49 | Link to Comment Lou629
Lou629's picture

I moved my cash from a tbtf to smaller local banks last year.  I'd like to do a little gold/silver too.  Who did you use, ( or would you recommend ) for PMs?

Mon, 02/15/2010 - 03:03 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 16:16 | Link to Comment waterdog
waterdog's picture

I believe the government knows what it is doing and has the numbers to prove the economy is rebounding solidly and we are on our way to 6% GDP this year.


Ok, now will you guys take that stick out of my butt?


Fri, 02/12/2010 - 16:30 | Link to Comment Edna R. Rider
Edna R. Rider's picture

Maybe everyone is saving their money for an iPad.

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 16:36 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 17:19 | Link to Comment umop episdn
umop episdn's picture

Maybe we should be looking at sales taxes collected by the Feds to see what the real story is.

I don't see any upticks here, but I am unable to speak eCONomic jive very well. :-/

Fri, 02/12/2010 - 17:51 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 17:51 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 20:11 | Link to Comment TopHat (not verified)
Fri, 02/12/2010 - 20:36 | Link to Comment Gimp
Gimp's picture

Any numbers from the party in power are for one purpose and that is to make them look good. Welcome to Ministry of Propoganda!

We're all monkeys, know your drugs.



Fri, 02/12/2010 - 23:01 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 02/13/2010 - 10:43 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 02/13/2010 - 14:14 | Link to Comment Postal
Postal's picture

It's not that bad, Kudrow said so...


Sat, 02/13/2010 - 15:11 | Link to Comment lawrence1
lawrence1's picture

¨Lies, dammed lies, statistics¨... and GOVERNMENT STATISTICS

Mon, 04/19/2010 - 09:55 | Link to Comment Tom123456
Tom123456's picture

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