Retail Sales - April 2011

Retail Sales increased 0.5% for April 2011 and are up 7.6% from the same time last year. March retail sales percentage change was +0.9%, revised.

 

 

Gas jumped 2.7% from last month and is up 21.8% from a year ago. Food and drink increased 1.2%, with groceries increasing 1.5% in April. Grocery retail sales are up 6.8% from a year ago. Nonstore retailers increased 1.0% but are up 15.5% from a year ago.

The report implies people are having to pay more and more for gas and food and it's hurting other sales categories.

Electronics and appliances are down -2.2% for April, sporting goods are down -1.9%, furniture is down -1.1%.

While this appears to be a slow down, there is a reason advanced retail sales are often reported three month tallies. Last month was revised dramatically to a blow out for retail sales. The three month tally, from February to April is up 8.1% in comparison to the same period a year ago.

So, while the press reacts to this month, simply because it doesn't match some monthly forecasts, one needs to look at the fact last month was revised from 0.4% to 0.9% and realize these months will average out.

Beyond getting gouged for gas and food, there is nothing in this report that is so negative or implies serious economic trouble ahead, but does imply a possible upward Q1 2011 GDP revision. Retail sales correlates to personal consumption, which is about 70% of GDP growth.

The below graph is retail sales minus autos & parts, which increased 0.6% this month.

 

 

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Machine Tech Consumption

There were also signs of manufacturing increases. According to Thomasnet News, demand for machine tools and other related parts increased in March. Some of their findings are mentioned below:

Manufacturing technology consumption increased among U.S. manufacturers in all major regions in March, with demand for machine tools and related equipment rising on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis.

The combined value of machine tool and related equipment consumption by United States manufacturers rose to $511.15 million in March, up 57.6 percent from February, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Consumption (USMTC) report, released Monday. In addition to the monthly gain, the March total was also up 99 percent from the $256.88 million reported for March 2010.

With a year-to-date total of $1.2 billion, 2011 manufacturing technology consumption is 118.6 percent higher than in the same period last year.

March machine tool consumption increased in all five of the major U.S. regions tracked by the USMTC on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis.

The largest gains were in the Midwest, with manufacturing tech consumption rising to $214.18 million in March, 94.2 percent above the February total and 174.8 percent above the March 2010 figure. So far this year, the Midwest's consumption has climbed to $436.75 million, 175.1 percent more than the total for the same period last year.

Machine tool consumption in the Western region rose to $48.7 million in March, a 79.3 percent gain over February and 37.3 percent above the March 2010 total. In addition, the year-to-date total of $118.97 million is 68.6 percent higher than in the same period in 2010.

At $76.41 million, March machine tech consumption in the Northeast was up 39.9 percent from February and 112.6 percent from March 2010. The year-to-date total of $180.84 million is 104.3 higher than the total for the same period last year.

In the Southern states, machine tech consumption increased to $45.68 million in March, a 33 percent gain over February and a 3.1 percent year-over-year gain. So far this year, Southern manufacturers have purchased $133.62 million worth of manufacturing technology, 45.8 percent more than during the same period in 2010.

Machine tech consumption in the Central region rose to $126.18 million in March, 28.9 percent above the February total and 99.7 percent above the March 2010 figure. Year-to-date consumption has climbed to $333.38 million, 136.4 percent more than the total for the first three months of 2010.

[ ***** Based on data from member companies of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA), the USMTC report provides regional and national consumption data for manufacturing machine tools and related equipment. *****]

http://news.thomasnet.com/IMT/archives/2011/05/machine-tech-consumption-...

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

wow, machine tools, promising

That actually goes under wholesale trade and also investment, capital goods in other reports, whereas retail is just business to consumer, not business to business...

Still, those are some great numbers. I'll have to do up the wholesale trade report to see if they match.

Love it when I see any breath of life in manufacturing.

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