I am going out on a limb and making a prediction: Retail sales in January 2009 will be up. Despite all the incredibly harsh weather and the absolute uncertainty. Despite the transition at the White House. Despite the inability of so many Americans to land a job or secure health insurance or refinance their mortgage loans. Things are going to get better... starting this month.
And today, the Commerce Department released retail sales numbers for January. And here is what CNN Money is reporting now:
Retail sales unexpectedly rose in January, after six straight months of declines, according to a government report Thursday that raised skepticism among economists.
There are two important things to take away from this:
1. Retail sales rose in January. Of course they did! Everything was on sale and people had some holiday money to spend and at the end of the day, consumers consume. Duh.
2. Economists are skeptical. Of course they are! Six months ago these same economists were skeptical that we were in a recession. Double Duh.
I am sure President Obama is right; it is going to be a belt-tightening year for a lot of people. So we will all work a little harder, save a little more and spend a little less. And economists will continue to be 6-12 months behind the times. And life will get better, as it always does.
But hey, what do I know about anything?
The sky is falling... just not on me!