In March, the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) slowed to an annual growth rate of 5 percent, its slowest since May 2021 and a full point below February’s 6-percent pace, the labor department reported.
However, the core inflation rate, which excludes costs of energy and food, ticked up to 5.6 percent last month from 5.5 percent in February.
Month to month, the CPI edged up 0.1 percent; the month before, it had risen 0.4 percent. The core rate rose 0.4 percent compared to 0.5 percent in February.
The core rate remains high due to housing costs, The Wall Street Journal said.
Prices fell for gasoline, medical care, and utilities; grocery prices slipped for the first time since September 2020. Consumers paid more for airline tickets, housing, and vehicle insurance.
“A lot of the benefit we’ve gotten from healing supply chains has played out,” Moody’s economist Bernard Yaros said in a WSJ interview. “We can’t necessarily expect that to be a major source of [price declines] going forward.”
The core rate’s stubbornness boosts the likelihood that the U.S. Federal Reserve will make good on its indications that it will raise its key interest rate by a quarter point next month.
The fed funds futures market has priced in a 67-percent likelihood of a quarter-point rate bump at the Fed’s May meeting… others guess it is a 78 percent likelihood.
TREND FORECAST: Again, we forecast the central bank will pause its year-long campaign of rate hikes after increasing them in May and begin to lower interest rates in the run-up to the 2024 Presidential Reality Show.
The number of open jobs decreased in March, as did the pace of wage growth, a crucial factor in easing inflation. Layoffs increased slightly, indicating the jobs market is stabilizing—a key measure Fed officials have often cited as a criterion to slow or halt interest rate increases.
U.S. inflation peaked at 9 percent in June 2022.
Many economists see a 5-percent inflation rate as the point at which price increases stop being an urgent issue.
TREND FORECAST: The economic future for the plantation workers of Slavelandia is dim and the polls show it. According to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey reported today “a record 69% of the public holds negative views about the economy both now and in the future, the highest percentage in the survey’s 17-year history.”
Yes, the public is more worried about the economy now than during the Panic of ’08 and the Great Recession. And, once-upon-a-time in America, even when the nation was booming following World War II and America was #1, the polls showed that the future would be better than the present… but now it is the opposite. Why? Because the “Bigs” have gotten bigger and taken control of all sectors of the economy while killing the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation. Indeed, at one time the middle class was growing but now it has shrunk 11 percent since 1970.
With the official core inflation in the U.S. up 5.5 percent (it is more than twice that according to shadow stats.com and hourly worker’s hourly wages up 4.2 percent, it is obvious why the polls show that 81 percent of respondents say they will be spending less on entertainment, travel and will use what they have to pay off some debt.
Hitting them in the stomach, 54 percent report the rise in food prices has hit them the hardest while 51 percent of the plantation workers say they are working more hours just to make ends meet.
Therefore, we forecast a continuing decline of the middle class… and economic growth.