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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press It Often Snows in January

It Often Snows in January

Friday, 04 February 2011 05:20

The NYT's article on retail sales in January was headlined: "Despite Snowstorms, Many Retailers Posted Gains in January." It is important to remember that the comparison is made to January of the previous year. There are always snowstorms in the Northeast and Midwest in January. This is only a factor in the data if the snowstorms were worse than normal. That would not obviously be the case for January of this year.

Btw, it is worth noting that the retail chain store reports are of less value than they had been in prior years because Wal-Mart, which accounts for more than half of chain store sales, no longer reports its sales monthly. Sears, which is the second largest retail chain, also does not publicly report monthly sales. 

It seems the Post is also surprised by snow in January.

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, February 04, 2011 6:43
Despite the recovery of economic rent in January, medical providers posted gains in sales due to the suppression of competition in the health care sector continued under the Obama-Immelt Competitiveness Plan.
written by PeonInChief, February 04, 2011 10:27
You are cruel! Analysts are worried that, having blown their budgets on Christmas, the vast majority will spend the next six months recovering, thus sending retail sales into the toilet. In 1984 the financial sector "saved" the economy by passing out credit cards. I don't think that will work this time--although I got two offers last week.
written by Darren, February 04, 2011 2:48
Most of the time I agree with you, but I am not sure this snark holds water. I haven't found the data again, but I remember seeing snow comparisons showing that many places, from Atlanta to Boston have from two to twenty times as much snow this year as they normally would.

Or, to put it more simply, yes it snows every winter, but typically we get a few inches in my part of Oklahoma in an entire winter. This year we have had multiple storms that have given us a years worth of snow, EACH.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.