BLS Releases March 2019 Consumer Price Index (April 2019)
The Consumer Price Index report, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides the latest evidence that inflation is soft; further evidence that the Federal Reserve Bank’s current policy stance of wait-and-see remains unaltered. The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in March from the prior month. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased by 1.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The energy index increased by 3.5 percent in March, accounting for about 60% of the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase. The gasoline index increased sharply, the electricity index also increased, although the natural gas index declined. Food indexes—food at home and food away from home—increased by 0.3 and 0.4 percent respectively in March.
Core inflation—all items minus food and energy—rose 0.1 percent in March. The Fed’s preferred gauge has held steady at around its 2.0 percent price growth target, a “healthy for the economy” level. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, new vehicles, recreation, education, and tobacco all increased. In contrast, the indexes for apparel, used cars and trucks, and airline fares all declined in March.
The all items index increased 1.9 percent over the last 12 months ending in March; a larger increase than the 1.5 percent rise for the period ending in February. Core inflation rose 2.0 percent over the last 12 months while the food index rose by 2.0 percent and the energy index declined by 0.4 percent. The Fed has pointed to muted inflation pressures in recent weeks as one reason for the pause in their raising of short-term rates.
The full press release can be found via the link below.
Next release is Wednesday, April 10, 2019, for the March 2019 Consumer Price Index.