Retail sales rise, or is it mostly higher prices?
|June 18, 2009||Posted by Jeffery J. Smith under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Retail sales rise, or is it mostly higher prices?
Bankers Say Recession Ends This Year
We trim, blend, and append seven 2009 articles from: (1) Sacramento Business Journal, May 29, on GDP; (2) MarketWatch, Jun 11, on retail sales by Rex Nutting; (3) AP, Jun 16, on inflation by Christopher Rugaber; (4) MarketWatch, Jun 17, on inflation by Deborah Levine; (5) Washington Post, June 11, on foreclosures by Renae Merle; (6) Reuters, Jun 16, on housing starts by Lucia Mutikani; (7) MSNBC, June 16, on official predictions by Phil Mintz; and one from 2008, McClatchy Newspapers, March 27, on 2020 by Kevin G. Hall.
by Business Journal, Nutting, Rugaber, Levine, Merle, Mutikani, Mintz, & Hall
- GDP shrinks again in 2009 Q1
The US gross domestic product declined 5.7% in the first quarter of 2009, less than the 6.3% in the final quarter of 2008, which was the nation’s largest since the mid-1980s.
- Retail sales rise 0.5%, but it’s mostly higher prices
Sales at US retail stores increased 0.5% in May, but much of the seasonally adjusted increase reflected higher gasoline prices.
Compared with May 2008, sales are down 9.6%. Compared with the first five months of 2008, sales so far this year are down 10.2%.
In a separate report, the Labor Department reported another big drop in first-time jobless claims to 601,000 — but also another record high for continuing claims at 6.8 million. Fewer workers are losing their jobs each week, but those without work are finding it harder to get a job.
- Wholesale inflation up less than expected in May
The Producer Price Index increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% from April.
Despite the increase, wholesale prices fell 5% in the past 12 months. That’s the largest annual drop in almost 60 years.
A 2.9% rise in energy prices, including a 13.9% jump in the cost of gas, drove the May increase. Pump prices reached about $2.50 a gallon by the end of last month.
Food prices, meanwhile, fell 1.6%, reversing a similar rise in April.
- Dollar slides after tame inflation data
US consumer prices increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.1% last month. The CPI has fallen 1.3% in the past year, the sharpest decline in prices since 1950 April.
Even though slowing inflation usually lets a currency keep its value, when Obama said the engines of the economy have started to turn, his remarks gave succor to optimists about prospects for a global recovery, tamping any safe-haven appeal for the greenback.
The British pound fell as much as 0.9% versus the dollar even after the UK said the number of workers claiming jobless benefits rose at a slower-than-expected pace in May.
- Foreclosure Filings Fall in May
Foreclosure filings fell in May compared with the previous month, but remain at elevated levels.
RealtyTrac counted 321,480 filings nationally, which can range from default notices to bank repossessions. That was down 6% from April, but an increase of nearly 18% from May 2008.
The firm estimates that in a normal market, filings would fall to under about 100,000 a month.
- US housing starts jump in May
New US housing starts and permits surged in May, not unusual after record lows. Housing starts jumped 17.2%, as ground-breaking for multifamily units surged 61.7% after falling 49.4% in April. Still, compared to the same period last year, housing starts dived 45.2%.
New building permits rose 4.0%, the biggest advance since June last year, to 518,000 units in May.
Building completions fell 3.3% to 811,000 units, dragged down by single-family homes which fell 9.4% to a record low 491,000 units. Completions for multifamily units rose 7.7% in May.
- Bankers: Recession Ends This Year
The June 16 report by the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Assn. Predicts housing starts should start rising later in the year, and housing prices should improve “modestly” in 2010.
JJS: Interesting choice of year. But others pegged it well before the bankers did.
- Home prices may not rebound till 2010
US home prices are unlikely to recover until at least 2010 said Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, last year.
JJS: Are mainstream economists paying attention to our guys? Among other geonomists, our Senior Editor Dr Fred Foldvary, Sta Clara U, dated this recession and the land-price bottom several times, including in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Oct. 1997.
The rebound, even if a year away, usually starts off slowly. Prices wont return to their 2006 peak for years, and longer when inflation is factored in. But by then, incomes should have risen so that the higher prices wont consume as huge a portion of income as they did in the first half of the decade. After that, the bubble begins again.
While the worst of the recession might soon be over, its never over for at least a tenth of the population who live in poverty — permanent recession. That is, at least until we adopt geonomics and replace taxes and subsidies with sharing the commonwealth — societys surplus, or all the money we spend on the nature we use.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
Mainly because six years of land bubble gone
Economist calls bottom in 2010, based on US cycle
The latest record-setting data point to continued slowing
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