Economic Report: Retail Sales Looked Good in September

By at 13 October, 2017, 11:31 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

When able to sort out the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the jobs data for September actually turned out to be solid, as noted in a recent SBE Council analysis. It also turns out that retail sales, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, did pretty well.

Another good piece of economic news that was released on October 13:

Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Surges to 13-Year High

While it must be acknowledged that retails sales growth is volatile from month to month, it was welcome news that sales climbed by 1.6 percent in September. That was the biggest monthly increase since March 2015. It also compared to declines in two of the past three months.

Part of this story had to do with people replacing vehicles lost in the storms, as well as increased gas prices, again, due to storm effects.

So, retail sales ex autos in September increased by 1.0 percent. That was up markedly from 0.5 percent in both August and July, and declines in May and June.

And if we factor out gasoline station sales as well, we see that sales grew by 0.5 percent in September, up from a mere 0.1 percent in August. The strength of growth in retail sales excluding autos and gas has been solid in two of the past three months.

During the first half of this year, retail sales were not exactly something to write home about. Millions of small business owners are hoping that the generally stronger sales numbers being reported for 2017’s third quarter gain some long-term traction.


Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Keating’s latest book published by SBE Council is titled Unleashing Small Business Through IP:  The Role of Intellectual Property in Driving Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Investment and it is available free on SBE Council’s website here.


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