US Retail Sales: April 2013 Preview

Monday’s scheduled report on US retail sales for April is projected to remain unchanged vs. the previous month, according to The Capital Spectator’s average econometric forecast. That compares with a 0.4% decline reported by the Census Bureau for March. Meanwhile, the Capital Spectator’s average projection for April is slightly above a consensus forecast based on a recent survey of economists.


Here’s a closer look at the numbers, followed by brief definitions of the methodologies behind The Capital Spectator’s projections:
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R-2: A linear regression model that analyzes two data series in context with retail sales: an index of weekly hours worked for production/nonsupervisory employees in private industries and the stock market (S&P 500). The historical relationship between the variables is applied to the more recently updated data to project retail sales. The computations are run in R.
ARIMA: An autoregressive integrated moving average model that analyzes the historical record of retail sales in R via the “forecast” package.
ES: An exponential smoothing model that analyzes the historical record of retail sales in R via the “forecast” package.
VAR-6: A vector autoregression model that analyzes six time series in context with retail sales. The six additional series: US private payrolls, industrial production, index of weekly hours worked for production/nonsupervisory employees in private industries, the stock market (S&P 500), disposable personal income, and personal consumption expenditures. The forecasts are calculated in R with the “vars” package.

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