U.S. Inflation Eased to 8.3% in August - WSJ

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  2 weeks ago  •  19 comments

By:   Gwynn Guilford (WSJ)

U.S. Inflation Eased to 8.3% in August - WSJ
Consumer prices remain close to a four-decade high

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



The pace of U.S. consumer price increases moderated somewhat in August but remained close to a four-decade high.

The Labor Department on Tuesday reported its consumer-price index rose 8.3% in August from the same month a year ago, down from 8.5% in July and from 9.1% in June, which was the highest inflation rate in four decades. The CPI measures what consumers pay for goods and services.

So-called core CPI, which excludes often volatile energy and food prices, increased 6.3% in August from a year earlier, up sharply from the 5.9% rate in both June and July—a signal that broad price pressures strengthened.

On a monthly basis, the CPI increased 0.1% in August from July, despite a sharp decline in gasoline prices. The core CPI rose 0.6% in August–double July’s pace.

Inflation has recently shown signs of easing for some goods and services. Gasoline prices declined sharply in August. The national average price of regular gasoline was $3.71 a gallon on Tuesday, down 26% from the peak in June, according to OPIS, an energy-data and analytics provider owned by Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

“Consumers are getting relief at the pump and there should be further relief coming at the gasoline station and the grocery store, since one of the biggest costs of food is transporting it,” said Ryan Sweet, senior director of economic research at Moody’s Analytics.

Broad price pressures have proven resilient, causing the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates  to fight inflation , said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

“Inflationary dynamics are improving and moving in the right direction,” she said. “But they’re still running way too hot for comfort, either for individuals and businesses or the Federal Reserve.”

Fed officials lifted interest rates by 0.75 percentage point at each of their past two meetings, and appear on track  to approve another increase of that size  at their gathering Sept. 20-21.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in late August that, while rate increases would bring down inflation, “they will also bring  some pain to households and businesses .”

The average household is spending $460 more each month to buy the same basket of goods and services as last year, said Mr. Sweet, the Moody’s economist.

“That’s a big burden, particularly on lower-income households. That’s one reason the Fed is laser-focused on getting inflation down,” he said. “They have a long way to go before they get it back down to where they want it to be, but we’ve seen small steps in the right direction.”

Inflation started surging last year as the U.S. economy recovered from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prices climbed because of a mix of factors, including strong consumer demand stoked by lower interest rates and government stimulus, as well as supply-chain disruptions. Higher food, energy and commodity prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year further spurred inflation globally.

Supply-chain disruptions have shown signs of easing recently, with the New York Fed’s index of supply-chain pressure for August falling to its lowest point since January 2021. Economists expect those improvements—helped by cooling consumer demand for goods—to slow price increases for goods.

The easing of supply-chain disruptions has put an end to a stressful year for Jaja Chen, co-owner of Cha Community, a group of cafes and food trucks she runs in Waco and Temple, Texas, that specialize in Taiwanese boba tea and cuisine.

Port logjams and delayed deliveries left her team struggling to find ingredients for signature offerings of dumplings and boba tea. “There were many times when we were on the verge of not being able to have boba tea anymore, which was really scary because that’s the main reason people visit our shops,” said Ms. Chen, who runs Cha Community with her husband, Devin Li. In January, they raised prices across the board, in part to offset higher costs.

But the inflow of imported foods has improved significantly in recent months, she said, adding that if they raise prices next year it would be to fund another hire; the need to cover higher ingredient prices is no longer an urgent concern.

“Things have definitely improved, even compared to earlier this summer,” she said. “We definitely don’t have as much worries about shortages anymore.”

Some broader measures suggest economic demand is weakening, which could damp price pressures. U.S.  gross domestic product shrank  in the first half of the year, according to the Commerce Department.

Some large employers, including  Ford Motor  Co.,  T-Mobile US  Inc. and  Wayfair  Inc.,  have announced job cuts recently .

However,  the broader labor market remains strong , with employers adding 315,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment rate edged up but remained low at 3.7%


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    2 weeks ago

It appears that inflation will be with us for a while.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2  JBB    2 weeks ago

Inflation caused by Covid and Ukraine is finally easing.

And, that is a bad thing? 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago

Sure it's a good thing. But most of US inflation is caused by Biden's misguided  policies....and that's a bad thing

Please tell us what actions Biden has taken to ease Bidinflation.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago

So, as the Washington Post proclaims: " Analysis: Inflation fears have waned. Gas prices are down (and, more importantly, appear to have slipped out of local news broadcasts). Jobs growth has been solid."



The question is will people vote on those reassuring words or what they are really experiencing?

That's one thing about the left: they are going to try to gaslight us 24/7 right up until election day!

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
2.2.1  Jack_TX  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.2    2 weeks ago
Analysis: Inflation fears have waned.

That's idiotic.

Somebody hasn't seen the stock market this morning.  The S&P is down over 3%.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.2.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Jack_TX @2.2.1    2 weeks ago

I agree.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
2.2.3  Sparty On  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.2    2 weeks ago
That's one thing about the left: they are going to try to gaslight us 24/7 right up until election day!

Yep, thats’s all they got since reality is more or less a shit sandwich all day long.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.3  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago
Inflation caused by Covid and Ukraine is finally easing.

Gee, do you think Biden's policies will get it down to less than 5% by the end of his term?

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Senior Quiet
2.4  Jack_TX  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago
Inflation caused by Covid and Ukraine is finally easing.

Unfortunately, not really.  That's not a political statement, BTW.  There is hardly anything at all anybody in DC can do about any of this.

Consumer prices are 8.3% higher than they were a year ago, despite the fact that the FFR is nine times higher than it was then.  Gas prices are down 25% (probably temporarily), so that means everything else is still increasing at a very high rate.

And, that is a bad thing? 

If it were actually happening, it would be a great thing.  If the CPI number this morning had been in the 6-7% range, for example, that might have been evidence that the rising interest rates were having the desired effect.  This would have led the Fed to consider a smaller interest rate hike for September and would have been a sign that we might be able to get through this without a significantly more severe recession.

As it stands, this means we're almost surely looking at a 75bps increase, and very possibly a full percent.  So a lot of employers who relied on access to cheap capital no longer have it.  

All that twists and turns and boils down to .... we were hoping to get out of this thing without a significant number of people losing their jobs.  That looks really unlikely after this morning.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.5  Ronin2  replied to  JBB @2    2 weeks ago

Covid and Ukraine. What the hell is the left smoking these days? And no, we don't want a puff.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

Gas is down, but for how long? Groceries remain high with no improvement in sight.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
3.1  Tacos!  replied to  Greg Jones @3    2 weeks ago
Gas is down

I’m not really arguing. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but gas is not “down.” 

OK, it’s not over 6 dollars a gallon anymore, but it is still 5 and a half bucks a gallon where I live. That would have been unacceptable/unimaginable/unforgivable just a year ago. It should still be all of those abominable things now. I’m not going to celebrate because inflation is “only” 8.3% or gasoline is “down” to a little over $5.

We have stop making it ok for things to be slightly less shitty than they were last month.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Tacos! @3.1    2 weeks ago
We have stop making it ok for things to be slightly less shitty than they were last month.

Yep, the programmers out there are counting on the fact a lot of people are too gullible and stupid to figure that out.

Look how great we’re doing .... inflation is going down .... gas is going down .... man, we are knocking it out of the park .....jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.1.2  Ronin2  replied to  Tacos! @3.1    2 weeks ago

Democrats have lowered the standard to where just having gas prices down from record highs is considered an improvement. 

Wait until the government has to restock the oil in the national reserves. Gas prices will shoot back up again fast enough.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
4  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

Real wages are down 2.4% year over year. 

The plight of the American worker keeps getting worse under Biden

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5  Tacos!    2 weeks ago

So, prices continue to climb at ridiculous rate, only they’re climbing slightly slower than they did last month. 

I’m supposed to be happy about that? I’m supposed to look at that and think “Woo-hoo! Everything is going our way?”

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1  Texan1211  replied to  Tacos! @5    2 weeks ago
So, prices continue to climb at ridiculous rate, only they’re climbing slightly slower than they did last month. 

Somehow the Administration will spin that into zero inflation.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Expert
5.1.1  Tacos!  replied to  Texan1211 @5.1    2 weeks ago

Or negative

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Tacos! @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

We always have to remember that new-fangled math where progressives claimed that budget increases were actually budget cuts because an agency didn't get all it requested.

 
 

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