September Retail Sales: Seasonal vs Non-Seasonal - Spot The Difference

Just when we thought we may finally get one decent economic data point which even we could get excited about, we decided to look at the Non-Seasonally Adjusted September retail sales data. After all the $4.7 billion seasonal increase in headline retail sales was the second highest ever (in absolute terms, second only to 2004). Turns out our curiosity was an enthusiasm-dowsing mistake, as a number which on the surface looked good, was hardly validated by the Not-Seasonally Adjusted number, which plunged by $31.9 billion. How does this September sequential change compare to previous years? See the chart below and decide for yourselves if the massive NSA plunge in September 2012 merits the second best seasonally adjusted retail sales increase in history.

If anything, the 2012 spread of SA vs NSA retail change is most comparable to that from September 2007. As a reminder, this is 2 months before the 2nd Great Depression officially started.

Source: St Louis Fed