Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How can this be?

Low gas prices drag down US retail sales in February .

Everyone insisted that lower gas prices would cause people to spend, spend, spend. I insisted they were wrong because during the recession oil got to 35 bucks a barrel and it didn't do shit for the economy. Here. Instead low oil prices caused retail sales to sink -.04% in January. January of all months! I would guess we are looking at a nice revision to February's data if January was that bad.

"WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales slipped last month, pulled down by sharply lower gas prices, and Americans spent much less in January than previously estimated. The figures suggest that consumers remain cautious about spending despite steady hiring.

Retail sales fell 0.1 percent in February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Excluding the volatile gas and auto categories, sales rose 0.3 percent. Overall sales were revised sharply lower in January, from a 0.2 percent gain to a drop of 0.4 percent.

Americans' reluctance to open their wallets could hold back growth in the first three months of this year. Economists had hoped that solid hiring and lower gas prices would entice consumers to spend more, yet Americans seem to be pocketing much of the savings from cheaper gas."

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