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Spending Went Down in November Despite Beginning of Holiday Shopping

Spending Went Down in November Despite Beginning of Holiday Shopping

“We’ve got to be braced for a period of two, three, four months of extreme vulnerability for the economy.”

Yikes. This is not good.

November usually kicks off the period when businesses get back in the black (hence Black Friday). But new COVID-19 lockdowns put a damper on those hopes since spending fell by 1.1% in November.

Now, 1.1% does not appear as much, but as I said, November is the time for businesses to profit.

It also shocks me spending fell because online shopping has taken off these past few years, but especially in 2020.

Online stores did help push November 2020’s numbers above November 2019’s numbers. Plus, the decline could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for online shopping:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $546.5 billion, a decrease of 1.1 percent (±0.5 percent) from the previous month, but 4.1 percent (±0.7 percent) above November 2019. Total sales for the September 2020 through November 2020 period were up 5.2 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The September 2020 to October 2020 percent change was revised from up 0.3 percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1 percent (±0.2 percent)*.

Retail trade sales were down 0.8 percent (±0.5 percent) from October 2020, but 7.1 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 29.2 percent (±1.6 percent) from November 2019, while food services and drinking places were down 17.2 percent (±3.7 percent) from last year.

The evidence is not just in the Commerce Department report:

U.S. shoppers spent less than last year over a five-day stretch including Black Friday and Cyber Monday as increased online shopping was offset by fewer people visiting physical stores during the pandemic. People spent an average of just under $312 on holiday-related purchases from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, down 14% from 2019 though on par with 2018, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Retailers also pushed an earlier start to the holiday season, both to limit crowds at stores and to ease pressure on supply chains by avoiding preholiday order bottlenecks.

Other data show that spending has continued to lag since the Thanksgiving holiday. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s tracker of 30 million credit and debit cardholders recorded a 3.5% decline in spending from a year earlier in the week through Dec. 12. Credit- and debit-card data collected by research firm Affinity Solutions and research group Opportunity Insights showed that overall spending was down 1.7% in the week ended Dec. 6 compared with January levels.

Plus, without jobs then people cannot shop and spend money. The numbers also show each sector is important to the economy:

“We’ve got to be braced for a period of two, three, four months of extreme vulnerability for the economy,” James Knightley, an economist at ING Financial Markets LLC, said. Mr. Knightley expects gross domestic product to contract about 1.2% in the first quarter of 2021 after increasing around 1.5% to 2% in the fourth quarter. Mr. Knightley said he “can’t see containment measures wound down meaningfully until vaccination is at a critical mass.”

The spending numbers align with the unemployment figures we’ve seen each week and the November jobs report.

The economy only added 245,000 jobs in November. Experts predicted 440,000 jobs because stores expect busy days leading up to Christmas. The labor force participation went down 61.5% and the unemployment rate did not budge or had little change among major groups except for adult women.


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Production is down, jobs are down, and a good chuck if the country is digging in for what may come.

Not surprised the holiday selling season isn’t really moving.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Voyager. | December 16, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Methinks everyone is planning on gifting toilet paper, paper towels and food – all of which they have WAY OVERBOUGHT!

    Antifundamentalist in reply to Voyager. | December 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    AND, come January, we have to contend with Paying back Social Security taxes that they failed to withhold IN ADDITION to current Social Security taxes due, with another extended shut down in the works. For the life of me, I do not understand how anyone thought that would be a Good Idea.

Subotai Bahadur | December 16, 2020 at 4:16 pm

No jobs, in no small part because of arbitrary and ever changing lockdown requirements in large, Democrat ruled cities. The Courts have formally abandoned the Constitution and no one has standing to protest in court. The imminent installation of a junta that is promising to end the pretense of a Constitution and rule of law.

No one in their right mind is spending any more than they absolutely have to. Except, for ammunition. For some reason it cannot be kept on the shelves.

We are in for hard times, and the Kulaks, Wreckers, and Hoarders will be punished for it by the benevolent forces of the State.

Subotai Bahadur

Clearly this is Biden’s fault.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | December 16, 2020 at 6:33 pm

We can all use much more of Tom Fitton for Christmas
and the New Year.

Lou Dobbs with Tom Fitton gives fiery reaction to Attorney General Barr’s resignation

No $#!+, Sherlock. How many of us have been out of work going on ten months now? We’re trying to figure out how to survive day to day, so holiday shopping just isn’t on the radar.

And if Beijing Biden gets in, don’t expect things to improve.

Wait until the tax revenues decline and the politicians have to cut police, fire and emt services to make up the shortfall along with increased personal and sales taxes.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to 4fun. | December 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    So they can keep the Zooming teachers’ union employed on their 2 year paid vacation…..

And the transit authority in Boston (the MBTA) still is fully employed with ridership down 90%. Go unions!

Three hundred million people looked at the news and said “Biden was elected? Well, the economy is going to tank and I’m never getting my job back, so I better make serious cuts in spending.”

The stock market hopped up because the index is made up of BIG businesses, which will make out like bandits with the lockdowns killing off their small-business competition and the spigot of cheap Chinese goods being opened up again. I have serious doubts about that market upturn lasting more than a few months into a Biden administration when all the strangling regulations return. (unless, of course, the businesses buy exemptions from the Biden administration with the appropriate sacrifices…)

Well, as I have continually told people that one of the main purposes of the lockdowns was to depress the economy and, that following the massive reduction in employment following the initial round of lockdowns, the economy would rebound slowly, I am not surprised at this news. Especially after the Dems in Congress chose to starve the people, by denying further bailouts, in order to harm Trump’s reelection chances.

These lockdowns are the ultimate totalitarian economic control. They force people to back the administration by denying them the right to earn a living by working and place them further in debt to the government. Wake up, Comrades. The New People’s Republic is just around the corner.