Don't Be Misled by Headlines

Feb. 14, 2014
Differing sets of data out of the Commerce Department can fuel misleading headlines. However, the US consumer continues to push the economy onward and upward.

In a recent article, the headline said that the January drop in retail sales bodes ill for GDP reports.  That is certainly an attention-getting headline, especially because it suggested that GDP may we be weakening, and a macroeconomic problem is imminent.  This is another case where reality is much different than the headline.  

The problem is that the Commerce Department provides actual data and seasonally adjusted data (data that is manipulated and “adjusted”).   Retail Sales experienced a 19.25% drop from December to January, inclusive of automobile sales.  Exclusive of auto sales, the drop was 18.9%.  The decline by either measure was milder than normal. The 19.25% drop was the second mildest in the last 10 years (last year was milder).  

Don’t be misled by headlines.  The US consumer continues to push the economy onward and upward.  We are projecting that there will a more noticeable slowing in the economy later this year, but the January drop in Retail Sales does not show any unexpected, near-term troubles for GDP.

About the Author

Alan Beaulieu Blog | President

One of the country’s most informed economists, Alan Beaulieu is a principal of the ITR Economics where he serves as President. ITR predicts future economic trends with 94.7% accuracy rate and 60 years of correct calls. In his keynotes, Alan delivers clear, comprehensive action plans and tools for capitalizing on business cycle fluctuations and outperforming your competition--whether the economy is moving up, down, or in a recession.

Since 1990, he has been consulting with companies throughout the US, Europe, and Asia on how to forecast, plan, and increase their profits based on business cycle trend analysis. Alan is also the Senior Economic Advisor to NAW, Contributing Editor for INDUSTRYWEEK, and the Chief Economist for HARDI.

Alan is co-author, along with his brother Brian, of the book MAKE YOUR MOVE, and has written numerous articles on economic analysis. He makes up to 150 appearances each year, and his keynotes and seminars have helped thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends. 

Prior to joining ITR Economics, Alan was a principal in a steel fabrication company and also in a software development company.

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