Inflation remained high in September, staying well above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release on Thursday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a broad measure of the prices of everyday goods, increased 3.7% on an annual basis in September, compared to 3.7% in August, exceeding the expectation of 3.6%, according to the BLS. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile categories of energy and food, remained high, rising to 4.1% year-over-year in September, compared to 4.3% in August.
“The combination of high headline inflation and low core inflation is doubly bad for average Americans since the economy seems to be slowing but they are still paying higher prices for gas, one of their most important purchases,” Dr. Thomas Hogan, senior research faculty at the American Institute for Economic Research and former chief economist for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, told the DCNF. “Based on the Fed’s most recent economic projections, they expect to raise interest rates one more time this year. Financial markets are currently projecting them to keep rates steady in November and raise in December, but if inflation comes in higher than expected, it would make a November rate hike more likely.”
Shelter made up more than half of the increase in inflation for September, rising 7.2% year-over-year, while the rise in the price of gasoline was also a significant contributor, rising 2.1% for just the month and 3.0% for the year, according to the BLS. The index for food rose 3.7% for the year, with food away from home rising 6.0%.
Despite inflation persistently remaining above 3% over the last few months, the Fed chose not to raise its federal funds rate at the last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in September, keeping the rate at a range of 5.25% and 5.50%, and will announce whether or not rates will be hiked again at the conclusion of its next meeting on November 1. The rate has been hiked 11 times since March 2022 in an effort to bring down inflation that peaked at 9.1% in June 2022.
Ladies, find yourself a man that stays around as long as “transitory” inflation… https://t.co/nS6zTKrJQ9
— E.J. Antoni, Ph.D. (@RealEJAntoni) October 11, 2023
The U.S. economy unexpectedly added 336,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in September, far higher than the 170,000 that were expected, while unemployment remained at 3.8%. Despite the large addition, the gain was dominated by an increase of 151,000 Americans becoming employed in part-time jobs, while the number of people employed in full-time jobs dropped by 22,000.
“Some Americans are asking when prices will start coming down,” Hogan told the DCNF. “The short answer is: never. If inflation had been caused by supply bottlenecks, as Fed officials initially claimed, then we would see prices fall as the supply constraints went away. In reality, inflation was driven by the Fed’s bad monetary policy, which means prices will remain high and will only go higher.”
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