Friday, October 15, 2010

Inflation: Core CPI, Median CPI, 16% trimmed-mean CPI all very low

by Bill McBride on 10/15/2010 12:56:00 PM

From Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke:

The significant moderation in price increases has been widespread across many categories of spending, as is evident from various measures that exclude the most extreme price movements in each period. For example, the so-called trimmed mean consumer price index (CPI) has risen by only 0.9 percent over the past 12 months, and a related measure, the median CPI, has increased by only 0.5 percent over the same period.
The Cleveland Fed released the measures of inflation that Bernanke mentioned for September this morning:
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index was virtually unchanged at 0.0% (0.6% annualized rate) in September. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% (0.9% annualized rate) during the month. The median CPI and 16% trimmed-mean CPI are measures of core inflation calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on data released in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) monthly CPI report.

Earlier today, the BLS reported that the seasonally adjusted CPI for all urban consumers rose 0.1% (1.2% annualized rate) in September. The CPI less food and energy was unchanged at 0.0% (0.0% annualized rate) on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Over the last 12 months, the median CPI rose 0.5%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 0.8%, the CPI rose 1.1%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 0.8%
So these three measures: core CPI, median CPI and trimmed-mean CPI, were all below 1% in September, and also under 1% for the last 12 months.

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows these three measure of inflation on a year-over-year basis.

They all show that inflation has been falling, and that measured inflation is up less than 1% year-over-year. Core CPI and median CPI were flat in September, and the 16% trimmed mean CPI was up 0.1%.

Note: The Cleveland Fed has a discussion of a number of measures of inflation: Measuring Inflation

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