Posts filed under “Data Analysis”
The New York Times headline declared, “Thanksgiving Weekend Sales, at Stores and Online, Slide 11 Percent.” Not to be outdone, the Wall Street Journal reported, “‘Black Friday’ Fades as Weekend Retail Sales Sink.” And — to prove I’m not playing favorites — Bloomberg News noted that, “Black Friday Fizzles With Consumers as Sales Tumble 11%.”
Please repeat the following, once again with gusto: We don’t know what Black Friday sales were, not yet. And we certainly don’t know what the impact of the actual number will be on final holiday retail data.
How did we get these numbers, which almost by definition are wrong? It is a combination of a retail trade group that cares little for accurate economic data, a terrible survey methodology and a naive and lazy news media, which seems to believe its role is to mindlessly repeat whatever nonsense is peddled by the aforementioned trade group.
Let’s start with the National Retail Federation (NRF), which surveyed 4,600 consumers on Nov. 28-29. Based on that, the NRF concluded that holiday weekend sales were “estimated to have dropped 11 percent, to $50.9 billion, from $57.4 billion last year.”
Note the use of decimals, which indicates both precision and that the NRF has a sense of humor.
I have been critiquing this foolishness each year since 2005. As we noted last week in “Retailing’s Black Friday Hoax,” the NRF forecasts have an abysmal track record: “Every year, I exhort investors to ignore this data series. It has no correlation to actual retail sales, tells us nothing about retail profits and gives us no insight into the holiday season.”
This is the time of year when Americans gather with family and friends to give thanks. A bounteous feast is the time to express gratitude for our good fortune. We count our blessings, humbled by the fortuity of our circumstances, grateful for whatever it is we have. Once you get that over with, it’s time…Read More
Reassessing the Effects of Extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits Pedro S. Amaral and Jessica Ice To deal with the high level of unemployment during the Great Recession, lawmakers extended the availability of unemployment benefits—all the way to 99 weeks in the states where unemployment was highest. A recent study has found that the extensions served to…Read More
click for larger graphic Source: McKinsey h/t Know More About 1.5 billion people, or 22 percent of the world’s population, lives in 600 cities. They account for an outsized portion of global wealth. According to a new report by McKinsey & Co.: Half of global GDP in 2007 came from 380 cities in…Read More