Real retail sales very positive; industrial production decent

Real retail sales very positive; industrial production decent

Real retail sales for November, together with the revisions for October, were very positive.

While November sales, both nominally and adjusted for inflation, increased +0.2%, October sales were revised upward to a nominal +1.1%. On an inflation adjusted basis, that translates to +0.8%.

As a result, as of November both real retail sales and real retail sales per capita set new records:


The latter has turned negative more than one year before both of the last two recessions, and so supports the case for no recession in 2019.  The former, on a YoY% basis, tends to be a decent if noisy short leading indicator for employment. Here what YoY growth in real retail sales looks like:



About the least positive thing you can say about this morning’s report is that, even with the upward revision to October, real retail sales appear to have downshifted from their earlier strength, as the strong +1.7% real gain from September 2017 drops out of the comparison. This suggests continued positive employment reports in the next few months, but maybe not at the 200,000+ levels of a few months ago.

Meanwhile, November industrial production increased +0.6%, but October was revised downward by -0.3%, so the net result was a +0.3% gain. On a YoY basis, industrial production has also decelerated from a “boom” readings to decently positive ones:

Together, these two reports this morning say that the nowcast remains very good.