US Inflation Rises 3.2% in February, Dimming Hopes For Fed Rate Cuts – The Average Joe
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    US Inflation Rises 3.2% in February, Dimming Hopes For Fed Rate Cuts

    Rhea Lobo

    March 12, 2024

    Warm breezes are back, and so is hotter inflation data, according to the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. The Labor Department reveals that consumer prices climbed 3.2% from Feb. 2023 — surpassing the 3.1% median estimate. And it seems like inflation isn’t cooling off anytime soon.

    • The main drivers behind the monthly inflation jump were higher gasoline and shelter costs, which accounted for over 60% of the overall increase. Prices for used cars, air travel, and clothing also contributed to the uptick in inflation.
    • The Core CPI, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.4% from January, mainly due to rising gasoline prices — marking a 3.8% YoY increase.

    Retail is thriving: Despite concerns about a potential recession voiced by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, retail is on the rise. The CNBC/National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail Monitor indicates a 1.06% uptick in retail sales, excluding autos and gas, for February — a reversal from January’s 0.8% decline. NRF President Matt Shay notes, “While the future direction of interest rates and inflation remains uncertain, it’s clear that a strong job market and increases in real wages are continuing to support spending” (CNBC).

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