November Retail Sales Were Very Strong

The Census Bureau announced this morning that retail sales were up strongly in November. However, their numbers don’t account for inflation and don’t provide any context for previous years. So how did we really do?

Answer: pretty good. Accounting for inflation, November sales were up 4.1 percent over last year. That’s the best showing this century with the exception of 2010, the first expansion year after the Great Recession. And it’s considerably better than the past two years.

If this is being done out of current income, rather than running up the credit cards, it suggests that the economy is heating up. Considering my fear of a recession in the next year or so, I don’t consider this unalloyed good news, but for everyone else it is.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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