Last week there was a flurry of articles about how there were "Record Low" retail sales in October, followed by statistics like the following:
"Total sales for the August through October 2008 period were down 1.3 percent from the same period a year ago."
What the hell. That doesn't sound so bad. If you take into account the falling car sales (which every article mentioned) and that gas prices had decreased (which every article mentioned twice), what was all the fuss about?
1.3 or 2.8 or 3.1, no matter how you sliced it, doesn't sound THAT terrible, does it?
So in all that flurry of articles, there was this one paragraph in Calculated Risk, on Nov. 14, 2008 that caught my attention:
Although the Census Bureau reported that nominal retail sales decreased 5.0% year-over-year (retail and food services decreased 4.1%), real retail sales declined by 8.8% (on a YoY basis). This is the largest YoY decline since the Census Bureau started keeping data.
Retail sales are a key portion of consumer spending and real retail sales have fallen off a cliff.
8.8%. That's more like it. That's significant. That's what businesses are really feeling. And I suspect in Bend it's more like double that number in REAL terms. Good word, that.
Paul-doh pretty much rakes to City of Bend over the coals on BB2 today; so I'll only add, that a 80% decrease in ESTIMATED REVENUES means that the ESTIMATIONS were brutally asinine and incompetent.
Especially since it was very clear to many of us (I think I blogged about this a year and a half ago) that there would be barely be enough money for repairing pot holes and plowing snow, but they went blithely on with their grandiose plans.
I'm still really amazed that only incumbents and realtors ran for office this year.
1 day ago