Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posts about the new consumer spending numbers from Gallup for July that have come out in advance of the retail sales numbers for the month.
When is Robert Gibbs going to get up in front of the press and claim that "Recovery Summer" was just a joke to lighten the mood of a depressed people?
Americans' self-reported spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $62 per day during the week ending Aug. 8. Early August consumer spending trends trail 2009 and will need to surge to match last year's anemic back-to-school results.
Gallup's consumer spending measure averaged $68 per day in July compared with $67 per day in June. This is consistent with the "mixed" chain store sales reported in July and the consensus expectation of a 0.2% increase in retail sales, excluding auto sales, when the Commerce Department reports on Friday. Retail sales is a broader measure - it includes the total receipts at stores selling durable and nondurable goods - than Gallup's spending measure, which is more oriented toward discretionary spending, but the two measures often trend together when auto sales are excluded.
More importantly, Gallup's weekly spending measure for the first week of August shows no improvement over that of the last week in July or that of the same week a year ago. In turn, this suggests that back-to-school sales are unlikely to substantially exceed last year's depressed levels. In fact, this week's comparable of a year ago was a big spending week, making for challenging sales comparables for many retailers this year.
Ed points out the obvious:
The advance retail numbers for July will come out tomorrow from the Commerce Department, but Gallup's survey of consumer spending gives a pretty good indication that the report won't boost the notion of Recovery Summer. In fact, it may be more like Flashback Summer, except that last year's numbers look better than Gallup's survey shows now. While spending shot upward in August 2009 in reaction to a heavily discounted back-to-school season, spending this year is declining...
Voters are going to have that phrase "Recovery Summer" echoing in their heads when they walk into the polling booth in November.