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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Inflation Hot at 8.3% but Monthly Readings Much Lower with Energy Falling

CPI-U Inflation came in at 8.3% in April with core inflation at 6.2% over the past year.  Energy, up 30.3% year-over-year, fell 2.7% in April.  The 0.3% monthly change in CPI-U is the lowest since August 2021.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.2 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.  

Increases in the indexes for shelter, food, airline fares, and new vehicles were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index rose 0.9 percent over the month as the food at home index rose 1.0 percent. The energy index declined in April after rising in recent months. The index for gasoline fell 6.1 percent over the month, offsetting increases in the indexes for natural gas and electricity. 

Table A. Percent changes in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U): U.S. city average
Chart 1. One-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), seasonally adjusted, Apr. 2021 - Apr. 2022

Green Shoots: Inflation MAY be peaking.  See Chart 2 below.  While the CORE inflation is higher than expected, the MONTHLY all items CPI-U number at 0.3% is the lowest BY FAR for the last six months with energy falling by 2.7%.  0.3% annualized is a much tamer 3.6% inflation.  Of course energy is up again this month so this will be hard to repeat without gasoline prices stabilizing or falling.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in April following a 0.3-percent advance in March. Along with indexes for shelter, airline fares, and new vehicles, the indexes for medical care, recreation, and household furnishings and operations all increased in April. The indexes for apparel, communication, and used cars and trucks all declined over the month.

The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending April, a smaller increase than the 8.5-percent figure for the period ending in March. The all items less food and energy index rose 6.2 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index rose 30.3 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 9.4 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1981. 
Chart 2. 12-month percent change in CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), not seasonally adjusted, Apr. 2021 - Apr. 2022

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