Inflationary Pressure Is Yet Again Right Around the Corner


Inflation! It’s always sneaking up on us:

U.S. consumer-price gains accelerated in October for the third-straight month largely due to rising energy costs, the latest sign inflation pressures in the economy are firming….The “report provided further confirmation of strong energy base effects boosting headline CPI,” said Barclays economist Blerina Uruçi. “Although core inflation rose less than expected, we still believe that domestic price pressures remain strong.

Hold on to your britches. Here’s what the various measures of inflation look like through October:

Yes, you read that chart right. Headline CPI (the blue line) soared all the way to…1.6 percent. But of course, the Fed supposedly doesn’t care about that anyway. They care about core inflation (the red line). Core CPI is slightly above 2 percent, but has been flat all year. No acceleration there. But wait. The Fed doesn’t care about core CPI either. They rely on the PCE inflation index, which is…hovering around 1 percent (the green line). Data for October isn’t even available yet. And data for core PCE isn’t available either.

But what about future inflation? Well, the 10-year breakeven skyrocketed from 1.51 percent in September to 1.67 percent in October. In other words, expected inflation bumped upward slightly, but is still well below 2 percent and has been trending downward for the past two years:

And yet, inflation is always right around the corner. Here’s the very last paragraph of the Journal article:

Separately Thursday, data showed workers’ earnings were flat in October from September, when adjusting for inflation. Stronger inflation offset the increase hourly wages, and the average workweek was unchanged.

Yeah, inflationary pressure is really a big threat. The labor market is so tight that wages were completely flat. Sigh.