The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday a 0.1 percent decrease in the Consumer Price Index on a seasonally adjusted basis. The index for energy dropped 1.4 percent while food prices were essentially flat, up 0.2 percent. The core index remained stable.
Consumer pay a little more in March, inflation not yet problem
Prices paid by consumers in March rose slightly, a sign that inflation has not yet become a serious problem for the U.S. economy.
However, others think the Fed’s current policy on interest rates will be unsustainable in the future.
“I think what you’re seeing is a natural, gradual number, nothing dramatic and nothing very surprising. It was right around what most people expected,” said Scott Testa, an economics professor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.
Testa said the CPI “shows that the typical consumer was not being squeezed. Seventy percent of the economy is based on consumer spending, so numbers like this, that would give consumers an advantage for spending, I think are encouraging.”
Friday’s CPI increase was minimal as compared to the 1.4 percent jump in the Producer Price Index, another inflation measure focused on prices at the wholesale level. According to Testa, the divergence isn’t very significant.
“I’d be more concerned if both numbers are dramatically up. I take it with a grain of salt when looking at one specific set of numbers over a short period of time.”