Thursday, March 17, 2011

Core Measures show increase in Inflation

by Bill McBride on 3/17/2011 01:19:00 PM

Earlier today the BLS reported:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.5 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.
...
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in February, the same increase as in January, with most of its major components posting increases. The shelter index rose 0.1 percent in February, with rent and owners' equivalent rent both also rising 0.1 percent.
The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI this morning:
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% (2.4% annualized rate) in February. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% (3.8% annualized rate) during the month.
Over the last 12 months, core CPI has increased 1.1%, median CPI has increased 1.0%, and trimmed-mean CPI increased 2.1%.

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

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

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

These measures all show that year-over-year inflation is still low, but increasing lately.

Also, all three increased in February at a higher annualized rate: core CPI increased at an annualized rate of 2.4%, median CPI 2.4% annualized, and trimmed-mean CPI increased 3.8% annualized. This is the second consecutive month with the annualized rate for these three key measures at or above the Fed's inflation target. With the slack in the system, I have been expecting these core measures to stay below 2% this year.

Note: You can see the median CPI details for February here.

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