Consumer Price Index: September Headline At 2.28%

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by: Doug Short

By Jill Mislinski

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the September Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 2.28%, down from 2.70% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex-Food and Energy) came in at 2.17%, down from the previous month's 2.28% and above the Fed's 2% PCE target.

Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.2 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The shelter index continued to rise and accounted for over half of the seasonally adjusted monthly increase in the all items index. The energy index declined 0.5 percent in September after rising in August. The food index was unchanged in September, as an increase in the index for food away from home offset a decline in the food at home index.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in September, the same increase as in August. The shelter index increased 0.2 percent, and the indexes for apparel, motor vehicle insurance, recreation, and airline fares also rose. The medical care index increased as well, though its components were mixed. The index for used cars and trucks, which fell sharply, and the new vehicles index were among the indexes that declined in September. [More…]

Investing.com was looking for a 0.2% MoM change in seasonally adjusted Headline CPI and 0.2% in Core CPI. Year-over-year forecasts were 2.4% for Headline and 2.3% for Core.

The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century. The highlighted two percent level is the Federal Reserve's Core inflation target for the CPI's cousin index, the BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.

Headline and Core CPI since 2000

The next chart shows both series since 1957, the year the government first began tracking Core Inflation.

Headline and Core CPI

In the wake of the Great Recession, 2 percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation. However, at their December 2012 FOMC meeting, the inflation ceiling was raised to 2.5% while their accommodative measures (low Fed Funds Rate and quantitative easing) were in place. They have since reverted to the 2 percent target in their various FOMC documents.

Federal Reserve policy, which in recent history has focused on core inflation measured by the core PCE Price Index, will see that the more familiar core CPI is now above the PCE target range of 2 percent.

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