“No, it’s a great asset. More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch.”
That was President Joe Biden’s hot mic description of Fox News’ Peter Doocy on Jan. 24 after he asked “Will you take questions on inflation then? Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global economic growth forecast for 2022 on Tuesday, citing growing COVID-19 cases, supply chain bottlenecks and soaring inflation.
The IMF now projects global gross domestic (GDP) product to grow 4.4% in 2022, down from 5.9% growth in 2021, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report published Tuesday. The IMF projected global GDP would reach 4.9% in its Fall report.
“The global economy enters 2022 in a weaker position than previously expected,” the report said, blaming “downside surprises,” including soaring COVID-19 cases and turbulent markets.
With both volatile markets and significant inflation in the mix, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday indicated that it may soon raise interest rates for the first time in more than three years.
“With inflation well above 2 percent and a strong labor market, the committee expects it will soon be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate,” the body said n a highly anticipated statement following its meeting.
The Federal Open Market Committee added that the central bank’s monthly bond-buying will proceed at just $30 billion in February, signaling that the program could come to an end in March as the interest rate increases.
Orange juice prices are expected to soar in 2022 after inclement weather and citrus disease constrained the supply of oranges in the U.S. while demand surged during the pandemic, CNN Business reported.
Frozen orange juice futures climbed over 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic and reached a two-year high in January, according to CNN Business.
Luxury car sales surged in 2021 while mainstream car companies struggled amid global supply chain disruptions and soaring inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Luxury car brands, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche and BMW, all reported record sales in 2021, the WSJ reported. Reduced international travel reportedly encouraged high-end car users to boost their vehicle purchases.
Meanwhile, the auto industry was crushed by supply chain bottlenecks and worsening chip shortages causing companies to curb production, the WSJ reported.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, surged to 9.7% on a year-over-year basis as of December 2021, marking the highest rate in history, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Thursday.
The BLS reported that the PPI grew 0.2% in December as prices continued to soar amid growing supply chain disruptions and COVID-19 concerns. As of November, the measure grew 9.6% on a year-over basis and 0.8% in that month alone.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.5% in December, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.
The CPI soared to 7% on a year-over-year basis in December, the highest level in almost four decades, the BLS reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the index would soar past 7.1% in December.
“There’s still a lot of scarcity in the economy. Consumers and businesses are in great financial shape, and they’re willing to pay up for more goods, more services and more labor,” Sarah House, director, and senior economist at Wells Fargo, told the WSJ.
Despite the mainstream media hysteria over the Chinese coronavirus, a new poll shows that a broader swath of Americans continue to care more about inflation and other more direct economic issues.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the poll was conducted by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research throughout the month of December, with its findings released on Monday. In the poll, 37 percent of Americans believe that the coronavirus should be the government’s top priority in 2022. Last year, that number was 53 percent.
Conversely, 68 percent believe the economy should be the top focus instead. Of those 68 percent, 14 percent specifically named inflation as a major issue; last year, only one percent of respondents worried about inflation, which has since risen to a 40-year high under Joe Biden’s watch.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged Tuesday that high inflation is indeed a serious threat to the U.S. central bank’s goal of helping to get U.S. employees back to work.
He also said the Fed will raise rates higher than initially planned if needed to slow rising prices, according to the Associated Press.
“If we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his nomination for a second four-year term, the wire service also reports. “High inflation is a severe threat to the achievement of maximum employment.”
It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that historically low interest rates, two rounds of stimulus payments, extended unemployment insurance, and unrestrained government spending will result in higher consumer demand, outstripping the supply of goods, especially since employment levels—and productivity—have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
And yet, it has taken several months for the Federal Reserve and the Biden Administration to even admit what Americans have known for months: Inflation is real and far from transitory. Democrats started by gaslighting Americans, claiming that inflation is a “high class problem.” Then they tried to attribute the inflation to supply chain bottlenecks—never mind that Administration policy has contributed to those very same shocks. Now that the administration admits the obvious, though it’s kicked the political football back to the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, Joe Biden falsely claims Build Back Better is positioned as the solution to inflation. In reality, pouring more money into this economy right now is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on the fire.
As the long year of 2021 finally came to a close, there were a number of truths Americans on the Left found themselves privately acknowledging but unable to say in public for fear of doing damage to their political cause, their own reputations, or their sense of security. But as 2022 advances, it will become even more difficult to hide these truths.
No one wishes to speak of the “dossier” anymore. Everyone knows why: it was never a dossier. It was always a mishmash concoction of half-baked fantasies and outright lies, sloppily thrown together by the grifter and has-been ex-British spy and Trump hater, Christopher Steele—all in the pay of Hillary Clinton, the original architect of the collusion hoax.
While gas prices have soared nationwide this year, average prices at the pump have remained among the lowest in Oklahoma and Texas, in part because they are significant oil and gas hubs for the nation.
The lowest current average regular gas prices per gallon are $2.822 in Oklahoma and $2.825 in Texas. Oklahomans have had the lowest prices nationwide throughout the surge of gas prices this fall, AAA reports. In the spring, Oklahoma’s average gas prices were the sixth-lowest in the nation.
I have a pretty good track record on predictions. In March of 2020, I wrote, “Don’t write off Joe [Biden] . . . it’s clear he will run a close contest against President Trump.” Approximately two weeks into the pandemic, I wrote “If we wait until [there is] no death before we demand a return of our liberty, we will have lost everything to this pandemic.” Also in March of 2020, I wrote that, “The supply interruption of even a couple of months will cause shortages or price increases in items that have a significant effect on the formula for calculating inflation.” In June of 2019, a month before Trump’s Ukraine phone call, I suggested that the Justice Department would use criminal prosecutions to protect Joe Biden from fallout for his son’s shady dealings in Ukraine. I wrote, “If that candidate has the best chance to defeat Trump, should the DOJ deploy its awesome criminal prosecution powers to prevent that information from reaching the eyes and ears of the American electorate?” I was close on that one, the cover came from Congress.
So as we head into 2022, hubris compels me to offer a few—not exactly predictions, but scenarios—that could easily come to pass based upon historical precedent.
Inflation, “softness” in the White House, and pandemic uncertainty make up some of the biggest risks to the U.S. economy in 2022, according to a Washington consulting firm.
“Every quarter, I take a macro look at trends driving politics and policy looking both backward and forwards and identify where key political risks may lurk and where political opportunities may present themselves,” Bruce Mehlman, former assistant secretary of Commerce in the George W. Bush administration, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The most recent analysis targets 2022 and identifies the emerging risks business and government leaders should anticipate and prepare for.”
A founding partner of the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, Mehlman advises prominent companies to understand and prepare for emerging trends and risks critical to the ever-evolving policy environment.
Inflation continues to soar throughout the U.S., with the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index increasing to the highest level in almost 42 years while consumer spending cools, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Thursday.
The PCE, one of the Federal Reserves’ key inflation indicators when it aims for a 2% annual inflation rate, surged 5.7% in November on a year-over-year basis, a 0.6% jump from October, the BEA reported. November’s figure is the highest since 1982.
A new report estimated the annual cost of elevated inflation this year will be around $3,500 per household.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading business schools, released the report, which estimated much higher costs for American families because of inflation that has risen this year at the fastest rate in decades.
Virginia had historic revenue growth in 2021 and finished $2.6 billion above forecasts, thanks to a conservative approach, Secretary of Finance Joe Flores told the General Assembly money committees on Thursday. Flores’ presentation said that conservative approach should continue, with forecasts suggesting that Virginia’s income and job growth will continue in coming years, but will lag behind the nation.
“It’s also important to remember, to look back, because a year ago, you guys had just finished a session where you had taken down revenues to the tune of $2.7 billion, basically five percent of our biennial General Fund revenues,” Flores said.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, soared 9.6% year-over-year as of November, growing at the fastest rate ever measured, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Tuesday.
BLS reported that the PPI, which measures inflation before it hits consumers, grew 0.8% in November. As of October, the measure grew just 8.6% on a year-over-year basis and just 0.6% in that month alone, meaning wholesale prices grew more and to a worse yearly figure in November than they did in October.
Economists projected a year-over-year increase of the core PPI, which excludes food and energy prices, to be 7.2% year-over-year and a 0.4% increase from October, according to CNBC. Demand for goods was the biggest driver for the surge in producer prices, increasing 1.2% in November, slightly down from October’s 1.3% figure. Final demand services inflation increased 0.7% in November, much faster than October’s 0.2%.
We’ve told you before about Stephen Moore’s Committee to Unleash Prosperity and his must-read Hotline but the Friday, December 10 edition was a Pulitzer Prize winner, or would be if conservatives ever got Pulitzer Prizes. You can read the entire newsletter through this link and we highly recommend you do so, because in one edition it pretty well destroys the entire Biden Democrat agenda.
The lead article shows the effects of Biden’s inflation disaster in one chart. And Steve Moore explains “inflation isn’t going away. No, it isn’t transitory. And, sorry, no, CNN, it isn’t good for you!”
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.9% in November, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 6.8%, the highest figure in four decades.
The CPI’s increase is the largest increase in four decades, up from October’s 6.2% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday morning. Experts surveyed by CNBC projected inflation would increase 0.7% in November, translating to a 6.7% gain on a year-over-year basis.
“These are frighteningly high inflation numbers, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades,” Allen Sinai, chief global economist and strategist at Decision Economics, Inc., told The Wall Street Journal.
The No. 1 issue for 2022 and 2024 is very simple. Big Government Socialism isn’t working.
Go to your local gas station and ask folks filling up their gas tanks if they think things are working.
A survey released Monday found that business experts expect prices and inflation to rise at elevated levels for years to come.
The National Association for Business Economics released the results of a survey of 48 economic experts who downgraded their growth predictions and projected elevated inflation through the second half of 2023, if not later.
“NABE Outlook survey panelists have ramped up their expectations for inflation significantly since September,” said NABE Vice President Julia Coronado, founder and president, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC. “The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, is now expected to rise 6.0% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the September forecast of a 5.1% increase over the same period.”
Almost half of Americans said soaring prices created some form of financial hardship for their households, while 10% reported that they are experiencing “severe hardship,” according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.
As Americans enter a busy holiday season, 45% of consumers reported hardship at the hands of the recent surge in inflation, according to a Gallup poll. Roughly 35% of respondents reported “moderate” financial hardship in their homes and just 54% reported “no hardship” at all.
Lower-income households suffered the most, according to the pole, with over 70% of respondents earning less than $40,000 a year saying price hikes have negatively impacted their families.
Coffee prices soared to a 10-year high on Monday, with experts projecting the high costs to last well into 2023, CNBC reported.
Coffee contracts for December hit $2.34 per pound at the end of Monday’s trading day, CNBC reported. Coffee futures on the New York Intercontinental Exchange soared to $2.46 on Thursday, recording the highest price since 2011.
A record number of Americans say they won’t be purchasing gifts for the holidays this year amid ongoing inflation concerns and supply chain disruptions, a survey shows.
Roughly 11% of Americans said they expected to spend no money at all on gifts during the holiday season, according to a holiday retail survey by Deloitte. The number is the highest since Deloitte began its holiday retail survey in the 1980s and more than double the share of shoppers in 2020 who said they wouldn’t be buying presents.
Dollar Tree announced Tuesday it is raising its prices, bringing the cost of its products over one dollar for the first time in 35 years.
The dollar store will raise its prices by 25%, bringing the cost of its products to $1.25 as customers become accustomed to higher prices across multiple industries, the company announced in its third-quarter 2021 earnings report. Additionally, Dollar Tree said its decision to raise prices is permanent and “not a reaction to short-term or transitory market conditions.”
Home sales in the U.S. grew in October as buyers continue to enter a hot market, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Existing home sales increased at the fastest pace since January, growing 0.8% in October from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.34 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. October home sales declined 5.8% compared to the figure in October 2020, with the inventory of unsold homes decreasing 12% to 1.25 million on a year-over-year basis.
“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in the report. “Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”
Almost 80% of Americans say that inflation is impacting them personally, a new poll shows, with 57% blaming President Joe Biden.
The Yahoo News/YouGov poll also found that inflation was the top issue on Americans’ minds, with 17% saying so. Additionally, just a small minority of Americans, 18%, say that Biden is doing enough to address inflation, which is at its highest rate in decades.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating has dropped to its lowest level since taking office.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Biden’s approval rating has plummeted in recent months among steadily rising inflation, a difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan, and other economic issues.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says that skyrocketing inflation and long lines at gas stations are a result of President Joe Biden’s policies and are returning the U.S. to the days of high inflation, high cost of living and gas lines under President Jimmy Carter.
Eleven months into Biden’s term, inflation reached a 31-year high and gas prices surpassed a seven-year high.
“I’ve got to tell you the trillions that are being spent, the trillions in debt that’s being racked up, it is historic and not in a good way,” Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said President Joe Biden is “all over” rising gasoline prices but failed to name a single administration policy aimed at lowering energy costs.
“The president is all over this,” Granholm said during a CNN interview Monday. “He really is very concerned about, you know, inflation, obviously, and the price of gasoline because that’s the most obvious manifestation of it. As you know, no president controls the price of gas, oil is sold on a global market.”
Former President Donald Trump on Sunday came to the defense of Steve Bannon, suggesting the Biden Justice Department’s prosecution of his ex-adviser on contempt of Congress charges was evidence that America is a “radicalized mess.”
“This Country has perhaps never done to anyone what they have done to Steve Bannon and they are looking to do it to others, also,” Trump said, making a likely reference to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who also has been threatened with contempt charges if he doesn’t cooperate with the House investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
The 45th president suggested his former advisers were being treated more harshly than American adversaries like China and Russia.
Skyrocketing inflation and consumer costs are hurting President Joe Biden’s and Congressional Democrats’ hopes to pass another major spending bill through the reconciliation process.
The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics this week reported an 8.6% increase in wholesale prices over the past 12 months, the highest increase in years. The federal agency also said this week that the consumer price index, another key tracker of inflation, is rising at the fastest rate in decades.
The Consumer Price Index increased 0.9% in October, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 6.2% as supply shortages continue and demand grows, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Wednesday.
The year-over-year inflation figure is an increase from September’s 5.3% level, marking the highest level in 30 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the CPI would increase to just 5.9% in October.
The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, rose 8.6% year-over-year as of October, growing at a record rate for a second straight month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Thursday.
BLS reported Thursday that the PPI, which measures inflation before it hits consumers, grew 0.6% in October, in line with Dow Jones estimates, highlighting that inflationary pressure is still strong.
Over 60% of the month-over-month increase in producer prices resulted from a 1.2% spike in the price of goods rather than services, BLS reported. Goods prices rose 1.2% in October compared to a 0.2% increase in the cost of services.
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said he expects the recent spike in inflation to dissipate as supply and demand imbalances ease and that future price increases in 2022 would cause problems for the central bank.
“I do continue to judge that these imbalances are likely to dissipate over time as the labor market and global supply chains eventually adjust and, importantly, do so without putting persistent upward pressure on price inflation and wage gains adjusted for productivity,” Clarida said in remarks prepared for delivery on Monday.
The U.S. trade deficit hit a record high of $80.9 billion in September as exports fell sharply while imports increased amid supply chain problems and growing inflation.
The trade deficit of goods and services grew 11.2%, driven by demand for items like computers, electrical equipment and industrial supplies, the Commerce Department announced Thursday.
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it would begin scaling back its monthly bond purchases in November, marking the first step towards ending its pandemic stimulus as inflation surges.
The scaling of bond purchases, more commonly known as tapering, will start “later this month,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said in a statement. The Federal Reserve will reduce its purchases by $15 billion each month — $10 billion less in Treasury bonds and $5 billion less in mortgage-backed securities — from the current $120 billion figure.
This is one of the greatest votes of no confidence in the 21st Century.
Against the destructive policies of President Joe Biden, a torrent of spending that has brought back memories of the 1970s — surging inflation as the middle class are taxed their savings at the grocery store and then scenes of American defeat overseas in Afghanistan that stranded hundreds of Americans and thousands of American allies, who now suffer under the tyranny of the Taliban.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 42%, according to a new NBC News poll; his disapproval rating hit 54%, up 6 points from August.
The majority polled, 71%, including nearly half of registered Democrats, say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Republicans and Independents say the country is headed in the wrong direction, 93% and 70%, respectively, with 48% of Democrats saying the same.
Back in August, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait blessed the strategy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to withhold their votes for the Senate’s bipartisan physical infrastructure plan until that bill was effectively linked to a bigger, broader, and surely partisan, measure investing in a range of items from climate protection to universal preschool. He argued that “ransoming the infrastructure bill” would turn the tables on the party’s moderates:
Historically, most partisan bills are shaped by the preferences of the members of Congress closest to the middle, and their colleagues on the political extreme simply have to go along with it. … This time, the left has real power. Progressives can credibly threaten to sink a priority that moderates care about more than they do.
Twice in the past two months, most recently last Thursday, the House progressives successfully executed this strategy, blocking attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation before an agreement is reached on the larger “Build Back Better” bill.
Propane heating costs in the U.S. rocketed to $2.59 per gallon this month, the highest level in a decade, as winter quickly approaches, the federal government said Friday.
The average cost of propane during the first four weeks of the current winter season, which begins in October, was 49% higher than last year, according to an Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. The agency noted that the low propane supply is a major reason for the increased prices.
“U.S. propane and propylene inventories are starting this winter season lower than in recent years; weekly U.S. inventories are averaging 28% lower than the same time last year and 21% lower than their recent five-year (2015–2020) average,” the report stated.
On October 30, 2008, five days before Barack Obama won that year’s presidential election, he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” He nearly lived up to that promise.
Obama doubled the federal debt. He oversaw the worst economic growth of any president since Herbert Hoover. Under Obama, Americans experienced a stagnant median household income, a decline in homeownership, an increase in health insurance rates, and an increase in the number of Americans on food stamps, to mention just a few lowlights.
By every metric that should have mattered to Americans, Obama had failed. But from Obama’s point of view, he had succeeded. American prosperity is anathema to Obama and the modern-day Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s power doesn’t come from happy, successful, and independent Americans; but rather from miserable, forlorn, desperate, and impoverished Americans who are dependent upon the government for their salvation.
U.S. consumer spending growth slowed in September, and income dropped due to high COVID-19 cases, supply shortages, rising inflation, and ending unemployment benefits.
Consumer spending increased 0.6% in September, down from a 1% jump in August, the Commerce Department announced Friday. Personal income fell 1% in September, driven by a 72% drop in unemployment insurance benefits that offset a 0.7% spike in wages and benefits, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Economists polled by Reuters projected a 0.5% in consumer spending. Delta variant cases peaked in the middle of September, and the continued supply chain backups have caused shortages and rising prices, making it harder for consumers to purchase their desired goods, the WSJ reported.
Since Jan. 20, 2021, many of us have wondered whether the policies of the Biden administration are driven by folly and stupidity, or whether they are deliberate attempts to wreak havoc on the United States of America. The foolish and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ongoing demolition of businesses and occupations by a prolonged pandemic and now by vaccine mandates, the shipping and trucking crisis, the skyrocketing inflation: Do these and so many other fiascoes, we ask ourselves, derive from ignorance or from calculation?
Two days ago a definitive answer to this question arrived in the mail.
Available warehouse space near significant distribution hubs fell to historic lows in the third quarter of 2021, placing even more pressure on supply chain bottlenecks and increasing inflation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Demand for industrial real estate in the third quarter outpaced supply by 41 million square feet, increasing the vacancy rate to 3.6%, down 0.7% from Q3 2020 and marking the lowest level since 2002, according to data from CBRE, the WSJ reported.
Warehouses near the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in California, some of the most important distribution points of entry in the country, reached a vacancy rate of 1% in Q3 this year, according to the WSJ. During the same quarter in 2020, the vacancy rate was 2.3%.
Over 60% of Americans said that President Joe Biden’s policies were at least somewhat responsible for the accelerating inflation in the United States, a new poll shows.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday shows that around 40% of respondents said that the Biden administration’s policies were “very responsible” for higher inflation, while 22% said that they were “somewhat responsible.” The poll results come as inflation levels hit record highs and economists predict that inflation, along with supply chain shortages, could persist into 2022.
Virginia’s financial position continues to improve after COVID-19’s impacts in 2020, but the fast-paced recovery seen earlier in the year is slowing, Secretary of Finance Joe Flores told legislators in an update on Monday and Tuesday.
“The bottom line is that we’ve hit a few roadblocks in the past month or so with the resurgence of the virus, especially the Delta variant, and some supply chain issues. But you’re going to see from this report, as you mentioned Madam Chair, that the current revenue performance continues to just chug along. We’re doing actually very well, and it’s suggestive of a recovering economy,” Flores told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
High inflation will last well into 2022, economists say, indicating that supply chain bottlenecks will keep increasing prices and curbing production.
Experts expect to see average inflation of 5.25% in December, slightly down from the current maximum predicted 5.4% figure, according to The Wall Street Journal. If inflation stays around its current level, Americans will experience the longest period during which inflation has stayed above 5% since 1991.
“It’s a perfect storm: supply-chain bottlenecks, tight labor markets, ultra-easy monetary and fiscal policies,” Michael Moran, Daiwa Capital Markets America’s chief economist, told the WSJ.
U.S. retail sales increased in September, beating expectations amid growing inflation and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday.
Retail sales increased 0.7% in September, beating experts’ estimates of 0.2%, according to the Census Bureau report. The number rose 0.8%, excluding auto sales, beating the 0.5% forecast.
Sales were up 13.9% compared to September 2020, and they increased 15.6% compared to September 2020, excluding auto sales, according to the Census Bureau.