Debunking The Myth Of US Retail Sales Improvement

Earlier today the Census Bureau came out with its February retail sales announcement which was classified by CNBC's Bob Pisani as "terrific" on the basis of a 0.3% increase over January. What few point out is the January revision, which changed the January retail sales estimate  from 355,777 to 354,339. As February came in at 355,546, one can see why the government's game of endless data fudging continues. Had January been unrevised, February retail data would have been a drop of 0.1% instead of a rise of 0.3%. We fully anticipate yet another downward revision to February numbers once March data comes out, to make the March increase even bigger. Yet what nobody at all is pointing out is that the Consumer Spending data reported by Gallup, which 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", and whose 14 day rolling average for the month of February came not only at a drop of 5.8% from January's average read of 63.4, but came in at a series low 59.7, which was an improvement only on the 59.1 recorded at the lows of the US market crash in March 2009. US Consumption, when not parsed by the ever so creative eye of the US government, has rarely been as low as it was in February.

Below, we demonstrate an indexed chart of US Consumer Spending as tracked by Gallup, and compare it to the Census Bureau's Total Retail Sales data. The numbers speak for themselves.

If anyone believes the numbers coming out of the US government anymore, we suggest you relocate to China: you will get just the same "correctness" of economic data reporting.

With Geoffrey Batt