It’s really hard to get too worried about the state of the economy, when we get data like this…New Deal Democrat at The Bonddad Blog looks over the latest weekly retail and driving data, and likes what he sees.
Gasoline prices are about 8.7% higher than one year ago while usage continues to be much lower: Oil was about $3 lower at $103.50 Friday morning. Gas at the pump rose another $.05 to $3.92. Gasoline in particular is significantly above the point where it can be expected to exert a constricting influence on the economy. Gasoline usage, at 8710 M gallons vs. 8886 M a year ago, was off only -1.8% YoY. The 4 week moving average remains off -6.1%. The 4 week average is not off sufficiently from its YoY readings from the last 6 months, and the weekly number is the best in months.
Sales remained positive.
The ICSC reported that same store sales for the week ending March 24 fell – 0.5% for the week, but rose +2.7% YoY. Johnson Redbook reported a 3.3% YoY gain. The 14 day average of Gallup daily consumer spending at $78 is the highest spring reading since the recession, and indeed equals the highest at any point except for the holiday season, up 20% YoY.
Between gasoline usage and same store retail sales, as of this week anyway, consumers apparently failed to get the memo that they are supposed to be exhausted.