Dollar’s Purchasing Power Drops Sharply to Record Low, But It’s a Lot Worse than CPI Shows, by Wolf Richter

The government’s CPI statistics are garbage, but they’re a special kind of garbage: they always understate actual inflation. Now why would they do that? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

If the homeownership component in CPI mirrors the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, CPI would jump 5.1%! Not to speak of new & used vehicle prices, which I nevertheless speak of.

The Consumer Price Index jumped 0.6% in March compared to February, the sharpest month-to-month jump since 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, and was up 2.6% from a year earlier, after the 1.7% rise in February.

The infamous Base Effect, which I discussed last week in anticipation of what is now coming, was responsible for part of it: CPI had dipped in March last year, which created a lower base for today’s year-over-year comparison. Over the 13 months since February last year, which eliminates the Base Effect, CPI rose 2.3%.

  • Prices of durable goods continued their upward surge, rising 3.7% from a year ago (purple line);
  • Prices of nondurable goods, which are largely food and energy, including gasoline, jumped 4.2% (green line);
  • Prices of services rose 1.8%. This is the biggie, accounting for two-thirds of overall CPI. It is dominated by a measure for homeownership costs, which ludicrously, as home prices are exploding, merely ticked up 2.0% from a year ago. More on that in a moment.

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