As Reported, Consumer Price Inflation Is Lower Than Expected Once Again

Once again the BLS reports tame inflation and this time with negative revisions.

Consumer Price Index January 2021

This morning the BLS released the CPI Report for January 2021.

  • The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis.
  • The gasoline index continued to increase, rising 7.4 percent in January and accounted for most of the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index.
  • The energy index rose 3.5 percent over the month. The food index rose slightly in January, increasing 0.1 percent as an advance in the index for food away from home more than offset a decline in the index for food at home.
  • The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in January. The indexes for apparel, medical care, shelter, and motor vehicle insurance all  increased over the month. The indexes for recreation, used cars and trucks,  airline fares, and new vehicles all declined in January. 

Revisions

Not only was the CPI tame, but the BLS revised December from a reported 0.4% to 0.2% month-over-month and the CPI excluding food and energy from 0.1% to 0.0%.

Expectations

Econoday economists expected 0.2% excluding food and energy. The number came in at 0.0%. Year-over-year, economists expected 1.6% with actuals at 1.4%.

Year-Over-Year Since 1971

CPI Year-Over-Year Percent Change NSA 2021-01 Long Term

Year-Over-Year Numbers

  • Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.4 percent before seasonal adjustment.
  • The index for all items less food and energy also rose 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, a smaller increase than the 1.6-percent rise for the 12 months ending December.
  • The food index rose 3.8 percent over the last 12 months.
  • In contrast to these increases, and despite rising in recent months, the energy index declined 3.6 percent over the last year. 

Fantasy Inflation Numbers

The BLS arrives at these numbers by concluding the cost of shelter fell from 3.1% at the start of the Covid pandemic to a mere 1.6% in January.

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