Economic Report Shows Inflation Falling Again, In Biden Win

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A new report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Labor Department shows key measurements of inflation yet again declining last month.

In December 2022, the overall, one-month rate of price change actually showed a decrease of 0.1 percent, which is a couple of tenths of a percentage point lower than the 0.1 percent increase recorded for November. (Those figures are seasonally adjusted.) Rounding to what would apparently be a tenth of a percentage point, the December rate of price changes from the preceding month was the first time a drop was recorded since the middle of 2020. In the Labor Department figures for inflation over a year, the rate was also down in December, reaching 6.5 percent, which that federal source said was the lowest since October 2021. The overall rate of price change over a year recorded for December was also lower than the prior month’s level, when reports showed 7.1 percent.

There was a slight increase in the rate of inflation in a core index that excludes food and energy costs. In November, that rate showing changes from the prior month was 0.2 percent, and it moved to 0.3 percent in December. The slight change was in line with expectations from economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. On a yearly basis, the rate of price increase for all items except food and energy was lower than in November. A lot of the recent drops in reports of overall inflation connect to falling gas prices. In December, the overall rate of price change for gas across the encompassing year was a drop of 1.5 percent, although other energy sources saw a price increase in that time. From just the prior month, the drop in December was even higher, reaching 9.4 percent from a 2 percent monthly decrease reported for November. Another big drop in prices recorded in December from the prior year was for used cars and trucks. The index showing the overall rate of price change revealed an 8.8 percent decline.

A report from the same federal source for January’s inflation will be released in about a month, in the middle of February. The generally positive numbers emerged as the nation also sees continuing signs of success in the job market, like a steady — and, on a month-to-month basis, declining — unemployment rate and numbers of jobs added in a month that repeatedly beat expectations. Inflation is not and has not been a solely U.S. problem. An inflation index showing the rate of price change across the economies in the G-20 group of nations showed a 9 percent jump in November since the prior year — meaning both that month and in December the U.S. actually beat recent global rates.