Frequently Asked Questions

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In the original (unadjusted) series, this year's April value is larger than the March value. But the seasonally adjusted series shows a decrease from March to April this year. What does this discrepancy mean?

This difference in direction can happen only when the seasonal factor for April is larger than the seasonal factor for March, indicating that when the underlying level of the series isn't changing, the April value will typically be larger than the March value. This year, the original series' April increase over the March value must be smaller than usual, either because the underlying level of the series is decreasing or because some special event or events abnormally increased the March value somewhat, or decreased the April value somewhat. (When trading day or moving holiday effects are present and are being adjusted out, other explanations are possible.)

For more information, visit the Monthly and Annual Retail Trade website.


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