Thumbs Up For The Economy: Retail Sales Are At A Five-Month High

Americans really got out there in February, opening wallets and throwing cash around without practically a care in the world. Not literally, but still, we did a really good job, as retails sales had their largest uptick in five months. Even the high price of gas didn’t keep us out of the stores.

According to Reuters, the Commerce Department reported we’ve been buying just about everything, to the tune of a 1.1% increase in total retail sales, up from January’s 0.6% gain. We had an extra exciting time buying motor vehicles, which is surprising as gas continues to rise in price.

Experts point to the improving labor market as part of the reason why consumers are still getting out to spend, despite the expense at the pump. However, if gas prices keep going up, things might stop being so rosy in retail.

Delightful weather around the nation has also helped get shoppers out at malls, adding to the retail gains, even as stores have been forced to offer big discounts to get rid of all that winter clothing no one really ended up needing much.

February retail sales rise, highest in five months [Reuters]


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  1. caradrake says:

    I don’t like that our economy is based on how much we spend. I don’t know of any alternatives, but still, it makes it seem like we’re all so shallow.

    • ajaxd says:

      Any economy is based on GDP or, in other words, how much goods and services are produced and consumed. It has nothing to do with being shallow and has no indication of values of society which is an entirely different discussion.

    • Elizabeth B says:

      Isn’t that what “economy” is though? The measure of the flow of money through commerce?

      I agree that other statistics would be better, such as low homelessness and malnutrition, high academic availability or achievement, and a “happiness quotient” (yes, some countries measure the happiness of their people). If those factors are improving, should money matter? (I just realised that it sounds a lot like the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness,” but I am calling it “health, opportunity, and contentment.” Yeah, measure those instead of dollar signs.

  2. Cat says:

    “We had an extra exciting time buying motor vehicles, which is surprising as gas continues to rise in price.”

    This doesn’t surprise me, as most people have been holding on to their old cars as long as possible. Now that gas prices have increased and the old clunker needs yet another repair, people are buying newer, more fuel efficient cars.

    • dolemite says:

      Yeah…also, once gas gets up to $4-$5 per gallon, using that 9 MPG Suburban to carry your 1 child to school doesn’t look so appealing, when you can buy small wagons and hatches that get 29-40+ mpg.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This is all Obama’s fault.

    • dolemite says:

      These numbers are all fake and rigged by a secret muslim department hidden in a bunker deep under Hawaii. The real retail numbers are a 65% decrease in sales, and our national deficit is 992 trillion dollars when you factor in interest our great great grandchildren will be paying.

  4. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Fast forward to April or May 2012: Credit Card Late Payments and Defaults are increasing…

  5. Gertie says:

    Maybe spending is up because everything is more expensive?

  6. maxamus2 says:

    Is the QUANTITY of stuff being purchased going up or just the PRICE of stuff being purchased?

    And those new car sales, were they cheap economy cars people are buying BECAUSE of the high gas prices?

    I like a little more than just the headlines when it comes to the economy.

    Why is the “tipping point” always going up? Just a few years ago $2.50 gas would “derail” the economy. Then it was $3, then $3.50 then $4 and now they want to push that to $5. Funny, as the average income has actually DROPPED but the “tipping point” of gas went up.

    • ajaxd says:

      Volatile goods (gas and food) are typically excluded from these comparisons as they can skew the picture quite a bit.

      • Cat says:

        Volatile goods (gas and food) are typically excluded from these comparisons as the government doesn’t want the masses to know how badly they’re getting screwed by inflation.

        The truth is your friend.

  7. MeowMaximus says:

    I call Bullpucky! I don’t believe or trust the government. Remember, these are the same folks who claim the unemployment rate is only 9%, when its really over 20%. If retail sales are up that much, companies would be hiring, and they are not.

    • mramos says:

      Spoken like someone who doesn’t understand employment statistics. I’m also glad you’re comfortable speaking for all companies. I was pretty easily able to find a second job during the holiday season who asked me to come on full time after the season had ended.

      • MeowMaximus says:

        I am very happy for you, But I have friends who have been unemployed or underempolyed for years

  8. MacUser1986 says:

    Yet in New Jersey Trenton can’t afford toilet paper for their government buildings….

    I honestly don’t know why there’s hype about the “uprising” of our economy because it’s really not getting any better.

  9. AngryK9 says:

    Great, another twenty-cent increase in gas prices in 3…2…1…

  10. BradenR says:

    You can judge any city by the number of resale shops which are flourishing. If the parking lots are full there, it doesn’t matter what the government claims.