The visible hand in economics

September quarter retail volumes: The curse of the deflator?

Posted on: November 13, 2008

So the September quarter retail figures are out.

I love the quarterly figures because they give us volume and price data as well as the monthly value data.

So how much did retail sales fall by – only a little bit hopefully. Now pull out all those automotive subtypes – how much did core volumes fall by – this is the key figure for me. If they fell by more than, say, 0.6% in the quarter (seasonally adjusted) then I would be concerned.

How about the “deflator” (retail price increases). People in the retail industry say that they are slashing prices to get people in the door – the consumer price index indicated that they weren’t actually doing this. So which is it?

Now we can use the value number for something useful – compare it to growth in hours worked X average hours in the QES (on the third). If the QES number grew by more then it indicates that we may be seeing a sizable increase in savings – some may view this as “demand deficiency” and other may view this as “a required adjustment”. Ultimately, where I sit depends on how big the adjustment is🙂

So, discuss😀

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