Wages Increase As Inflation Normalizes In Latest Economic Report


Another federal financial report shows inflation slowing last month.

Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index data, which is produced by the Commerce Department, recently showed a one-year rate of price increases that was the lowest recorded since October 2021. The rate was 5.5 percent, falling from what is now reported as 6.1 percent in October 2022. The figures represent the rate of price increases from the same month the prior year. Numbers showing the rates of increase from just the prior month reflect a much lower jump, with prices up 0.1 percent in November from October. Striking energy (and food) prices, November inflation as reflected in this Commerce Department index was 4.7 percent over a year ago. The month-to-month increase that also reflected costs sans food and energy was 0.2 percent, so barely above the metric including those factors. The overall rate of month-to-month price increases was 0.4 percent in October, per this index — so that was another drop.

There was also a recorded increase in income for Americans, who saw overall incomes up 0.3 percent in November after factoring in inflation. The figure — originally 0.4 percent — reflects any rise from the preceding month. Factoring overall inflation from the preceding month into the count, the rate of month-to-month increase in incomes was the same in October. As could be expected, a press release outlining some of the November data from the Commerce Department notes a decrease — of 1.5 percent — in gas prices from costs a month prior.

Developments that originally drove inflation include issues with supply, whether that’s the supply of tech components or available stocks of gas. The Biden admin and Dems in Congress have led the imposition of policies to improve access to both, including with the release of some of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is a national stockpile — and national averages for the price of gas continue dropping. On Saturday, which was Christmas Eve, the average price for a gallon of regular gas was below the average seen the week, month, and year prior.

Energy costs are a significant factor in federal measurements of inflation, although versions of the metric that don’t include those prices are also available. Elsewhere, Consumer Price Index data produced by the Labor Department also shows easing inflation, including a 7.1 percent rate of increase from November of last year to the same month in 2022, which is below the one-year rate of inflation reported for the prior month. The overall rate of price increase from just the prior month was also 0.1 percent in November’s Consumer Price Index data.

“The Fed is believed to monitor the Commerce Department’s inflation gauge that was issued Friday, called the personal consumption expenditures price index, even more closely than it does the Labor Department’s better-known consumer price index,” reporting from an AP economics writer said. That means a decrease in inflation in data from the Commerce Department could inspire the Federal Reserve to slow their pace of increases to interest rates, jumps that were evidently designed to push down demand to try and address inflation.