Cash for Clunkers Hurts, Doesn't Kill September Retail

Retail sales took a step back in September, and the bulk of the losses came in the car market due to the end of Cash for Clunkers. Does today's news invalidate the auto revitalization program? Hardly. The drop doesn't exactly erase my doubts about C4C, but it does suggest that something I feared -- encouraging families to spend tens of thousands in August would discourage them from spending on other things in September -- isn't happening.


Some key facts:

1) The 1.5% drop in retail sales is pretty much entirely explained by the 10.4 percent month-to-month plunge in auto sales.

2) Non-auto sales grew, but slightly less than in August.

3) Consecutive months of non-auto, non-gas growth suggest that the consumer economy is on the right track, even if it's not positive year-over-year.

[via Real Time Economics]

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Business

Just In