Inflation Deceptive, CPI 0.1% Yet Some Items Off the Charts

The monthly Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% for September.   CPI measures inflation, or price increases.  September shows relief at the pump while steak lovers are hurting.  Core inflation is below the Fed's target point.  Yet while the monthly inflation number seems low, the situation is actually much more of a mixed bag, in part due to the way CPI is tabulated.

CPI 0.1% for January, Shelter Inflation is on the Rise

The monthly Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% for January.   CPI measures inflation, or price increases.  While the monthly inflation number seems low, the situation is actually a mixed bag as electricity has it's largest inflation jump since January 2010.  Natural gas costs also ballooned and the cost of sheltering oneself rose dramatically.


Inflation Low In Spite of Rising Rent and Gas Prices

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3% for December as the price of gas increased 3.1% and the cost of housing oneself is on the rise.   CPI measures inflation, or price increases.  This is the highest monthly increase in six months, yet for the year inflation is low.  Overall energy costs increased 2.1% in December where price increases are needed least.


Consumer Spending Up 0.5% in November, Biggest Real Gain in 21 Months

The November personal income and outlays report shows a 0.5% change in consumer spending, even when adjusted for inflation.  This is the highest monthly percentage change in consumer spending adjusted for inflation since February 2012 and is good news for Q4 GDP.  October consumer spending was revised up to 0.4% for the month.

Labor Productivity Soars While Real Wages Languish in Q3 2013

The BLS Productivity & Costs report for Q3 2013 shows labor productivity increased a whopping annualized 3.0%.   This is the largest increase in productivity since Q4 2009.  Output increased 4.7% and hours worked increased 1.7%.  Unit Labor costs dropped by -1.4% in Q3 2013.  The reason labor productivity surged was increased economic output while worker hours did not increase as much.

Flat Line Real Consumer Spending and Income for July 2013

The July personal income and outlays report shows no change in real consumer spending, which is really bad news for GDP.   Not adjusted for inflation consumer spending rose a scant 0.1%.  Real personal income isn't any better with no change for the month.  Personal income not adjusted for inflation rose 0.1%.

Anyway You Slice It Corporate Profits Bigger Share of Economic Pie

The BEA released corporate profits for Q2 2013 along with GDP.  Corporate profits after tax increased 2.6% from Q1 2014 to $1,830.4 billion.  Corporate profits after tax are also up 5.8% from a year ago.  Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all time high and after tax profit margins per unit are also soaring to the stratosphere.

Productivity & Costs for Q1 2013 Shows Biggest Wage Decline on Record

The Q1 2013 Productivity & Costs revision shows labor productivity increased an annualized 0.5%.   Output increased 2.1% and hours worked increased 1.6%.  Hourly compensation dropped -3.8% in Q1 2013.  This is the largest quarterly decline for wages in history.  Between the numbers lies even more bad news for workers.  Labor is simply getting squeezed to death as workers created more while being paid less.  This quarterly report also shows there is no worker shortage for compensation would surely rise if demand for workers exceeded supply.