Shoppertrak has posted an update of interest. No data was posted for the week of March 14. The week of March 21 this year is best compared with the week of March 15 last year due to Easter being one week later this year. Making that adjustment, look what happened:
|Week||YoY % Change|
|10/18/08||+1.1%||10/11/08||(- 1.0 %)|
The very first year over year increase since October, that's what happened! It appears that the shock of "Black September" has worn off, and consumers are still spending some of the increased pocket change they've had since Oil prices declined late last year.
In that regard, the "graph of the year" might be the EIA's weekly gasoline usage report.
Since bottoming at about $36 in January, Oil has increased to about $55. The seasonal increase is not a surprise, but the robustness of the rebound is.
As you can see, last year (the yellow line) consumers cut way back on their gasoline usage as prices reached $4+, but by this year (the red line) had taken adavantage of the collapse in prices to use more. In the last several weeks, consumers have reined in that usage a little. If gasoline prices continue to go up, consumer spending on other items will likely go down again.
Whether consumers continue to rebound from the shock of Black September will be seen next with the release of March automobile sales on Wednesday.