The only actual number that matters, is the Empire Index' Prices Paid index, which climbed to a two and a half year high of 45.8, as prices received barely moved. Even the Empire Index itself acknowledges the collapse in margins: "The prices paid index climbed to a two and-a-half-year high in February, but the measure for prices received was little changed, suggesting some pressure on profit margins." New orders and employees both dropped to 11.8 and 3.6, from 12.4 and 8.4 respectively. And, lo and behold, inventories climbed to the highest since April: the hollow growth must continue!
From Empire Report:
The general business conditions index rose 3.5 points to 15.4. The new orders index edged down just slightly, to 11.8. The shipments index retreated 14 points, reversing much of January’s 18-point surge, but remained positive at 11.3. The inventories index continued to climb from its December low, reaching its highest level since April. The index for number of employees fell, but the average workweek measure moved up. The prices paid index climbed to a two and-a-half-year high in February, but the measure for prices received was little changed, suggesting some pressure on profit margins.The forward-looking indexes continued to signal widespread optimism, though to a somewhat lesser degree than in January. Indexes for expected prices, both paid and received, declined moderately, after reaching multiyear highs last month.
Yet the biggest disappointment came from the advance retail sales which not only missed on every metric, but saw all the January data was revised lower:
- US Advance Retail Sales in January were 0.3% M/M vs. Exp. 0.5% (Prev. 0.6%, Revised lower to 0.5%)
- US Retail Sales Less Autos in January were 0.3% M/M vs. Exp. 0.5% (Prev. 0.5%, Revised also lower to 0.3%)
- US Retail Sales Ex Autos & Gas in January were 0.2% M/M vs. Exp. 0.4% (Prev. 0.4%, Revised, where else, lower to 0.1%)
Bottom line - the entire holiday retail season has now been confirmed to be a disaster, despite the propaganda machine spending billions in taxpayer pimp money to dress it up.
Can we start the QE3 talk already?