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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Key Measures show slowing inflation in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/14/2012 12:47:00 PM

Earlier today the BLS reported:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.3 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis ... The gasoline index declined 6.8 percent in May, leading to a sharp decrease in the energy index and the decline in the all items index. ... The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in May, the third consecutive such increase..
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 0.1% (1.5% annualized rate) in May. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% (1.1% 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 decreased 0.3% (-3.4% annualized rate) in May. The CPI less food and energy increased 0.2% (2.4% annualized rate) on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Note: The Cleveland Fed has the median CPI details for May here.

Inflation Measures Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the year-over-year change for these four key measures of inflation. On a year-over-year basis, the median CPI rose 2.3%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 2.1%, and core CPI rose 2.3%. Core PCE is for April and increased 1.9% year-over-year.

Most of these measures show inflation on a year-over-year basis are still above the Fed's 2% target, but it appears the inflation rate is slowing. On a monthly basis (annualized), most of these measure were below the Fed's target; median CPI was at 1.5%, trimmed-mean CPI was at 1.1%, and Core PCE for April was at 1.6% - although core CPI was at 2.4%.

With the unemployment rate well above the Fed's goal, and inflation slowing, this opens the door for further Fed action, possibly even at the Fed meeting next week.