Christmas in Connecticut is a classic romantic comedy from 1945 that depicts, as the title strongly implies, some holiday hijinks in the Nutmeg State. Although FRED does not offer much romantic intrigue, it can tell us how the retail sector is doing in individual U.S. states. The graph above shows definite seasonal regularity in Connecticut’s retail employment (the blue line) that’s associated with retail sales around Christmas. As in other U.S. markets, retail employment is always significantly higher in December—even more so for general merchandise stores that sell a larger share of gifts. So it’s a very good idea to adjust the data for this seasonal regularity. Indeed, noting that sales are higher in December than in the previous month of November doesn’t tell us much because this happens every year. So the seasonal factor must be excluded, as shown in the red line.
How this graph was created: Search for “Connecticut retail employees general merchandise” and select the two monthly series. Click on “Add to Graph” and you’re done. Consider decreasing the time period with the sliding bar below the graph: A closer look at the data shows the December peaks more clearly.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann