The U.S. is releasing a key report that tracks how much prices are rising for everyday things, excluding food and energy. The CPI Report Shows Inflation Cooled to 3.2% in October. This report is really important for the Federal Reserve – that’s the group in charge of balancing the economy. They’re trying to get inflation down to 2%, but it’s been a tough job.
Understanding this report is crucial, especially if you’re curious about what does macroeconomics focus on. So how about breaking down what’s been going on with inflation recently. It looks like the cost of gas going down has helped slow down inflation a bit, but other prices are still going up steadily.
So, last month, gas got cheaper, which was great for keeping inflation from rising too fast. But even with this, prices for other things didn’t really stop climbing. This is one reason the Federal Reserve isn’t stopping its big push to raise interest rates just yet.
Here’s the scoop from the experts: they think that prices in general went up just a little (0.1%) in October compared to September, and they’re about 3.3% higher than this time last year. This is actually a bit of a slow-down from September’s numbers.
When you look at core prices, which don’t count the up-and-down prices of food and energy, they probably went up by 0.3% from September to October and are 4.1% higher than last year. This monthly increase is kind of like what everyone saw in August and September, and it’s a bit faster than earlier in the summer.
Gas Prices and Overall Inflation
Gas prices dropped in October, which likely helped slow down the overall rise in prices. Regular unleaded gas fell to $3.46 a gallon by the end of the month. And guess what? It’s continued to drop into November.
Since last summer, when inflation was around 9%, it’s come down quite a bit. This is partly because the Fed has been raising interest rates to the highest point in 22 years, trying to slow things down and control inflation. They’ve put a pause on rate hikes for now and are waiting to see if they need to do more at their next meeting in December.
What’s Happening with Core Inflation Rates?
Core inflation, which is often a good way to guess where inflation is headed, showed some easing over the summer. But recently, there have been signs that this easing is kind of stalling, especially with prices for things like houses and car insurance going up.
Healthcare costs are another tricky part. Health insurance prices have been keeping inflation down because of some quirks in how they’re calculated, but this might start to change soon.
What’s Next for the Fed and the Economy?
The Fed kept interest rates steady in September and November, and they’re watching closely to see if inflation is really cooling down.
Jerome Powell, the Fed’s chair, said recently that they’re more likely to raise rates if they need to. This surprised some people who thought the Fed was done with rate hikes.
He said they’re really keeping an eye on the economy to make sure they don’t get tricked by short-term improvements or raise rates too much.
Is a Recession Likely Given the Current Economic Trends?
The Fed is trying to achieve a “soft landing” – they want to bring down inflation to about 2% without causing a recession. Right now, this seems possible. Inflation is slowing, and the job market and economy are still pretty strong. This has led many people to think a recession might not happen after all.
Consumer spending has been a big part of keeping the economy strong this year. But, economists think people might start spending less because of the impact of the Fed’s rate hikes. This could mean fewer jobs and slower wage growth, which might make people less willing to spend.
The biggest thing to watch out for with inflation is if people don’t cut back on spending as much as expected. If inflation starts going up again, it’ll probably be because consumers are doing better than everyone thought.
Here’s what’s happening: For the past two months, prices have gone up by 0.3% each month. So, over a year, prices have risen by about 4.1%. Experts think this trend might keep going, with prices possibly increasing by 3% to 4% yearly instead of the 2% the Fed wants.
Why does this matter? Well, if prices keep going up, the Fed might have to raise interest rates again. They’ve already been doing this to slow down inflation, but it’s a tricky balance. Last year, Everyone saw the highest inflation since the early ’80s, but it’s started to slow down a bit this year. The Fed took a break from raising rates in their last couple of meetings, but they’re keeping a close eye on things.
Right now, people betting on these things think there’s a 25% chance the Fed will raise rates in their next couple of meetings. However, the Fed’s probably going to wait and see what happens, especially since they’re expecting signs that fewer people are getting hired, which usually means the economy is cooling down.
So, what’s the bottom line? The Fed’s watching these numbers closely and will make moves if needed to keep the economy steady. It’s all about hitting that sweet spot of 2% inflation.