Consumer Prices In October Near Their Lowest Point In 50 Years

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Includes: IYK, SZK, UGE
by: Hale Stewart

By New Deal Democrat

For the last few months I have been using the change in the price of a gallon of gas to forecast that month's CPI in advance. My point has been, that all you really need to know about inflation is the price of gasoline. So far each prediction has turned out to be within 0.1% of the actual number.

For September I predicted a rise of +0.1%. Inflation was actually reported at +0.2%, making the YoY inflation rate +1.2%:

On Monday the E.I.A. reported gas prices for the final week of October, so we can estimate October's inflation rate now. My method is to take the change in the price of a gallon of gas and divide by ten, then add 0.1% to 0.2% to account for core inflation, or else divide by 16 to be more conservative, to arrive at the non-seasonally adjusted inflation rate.

In September the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.53.2. This month it was $3.34.4. That is a -5.3% decline. Dividing by 10 gives us -0.53%, and adding 0.1% to 0.2% gives us a rounded -0.4% decline. Dividing by 16 gives us a -0.33% decline, and adding 0.1% to 0.2% gives us a rounded -0.2% decline.

The seasonal adjustment for October last year was +0.2%. This gives us a final seasonally adjusted inflation rate that rounds to -0.2% to 0.0%.

That will replace last October's +0.2% inflation rate, so that the YoY inflation rate will be approximately +0.9%. This will be lowest YoY inflation rate for the last 50 years outside of the great recession.

Since my number one concern is jobs and income, it's worth noting that this inflation rate is also subdued enough to suggest that real YoY wages have probably increased again in October (graph below is though September):

and may be getting closer to their all-time high set in 2010.