Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Watch the BLS Try to Explain Away the (Price) Inflation...

Jeff Tucker reminded me that the PPI came out today (CPI tomorrow!). From the BLS' news release:
The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods rose 1.8 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This increase followed a 0.3-percent advance in October and a 0.6-percent decrease in September. In November, at the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods climbed 1.4 percent, and the crude goods index rose 5.7 percent. On an unadjusted basis, prices for finished goods moved up 2.4 percent for the 12 months ended November 2009, their first 12-month increase since November 2008.

So yes, producer prices are up 2.4% over the past year--doesn't sound like we're stuck in a liquidity trap to me--but that doesn't really mean much, since it was the first such 12-month increase in a year!

I guess now we see one framing trick that the government and media can use, to keep the public thinking that inflation is nowhere on the horizon.

UPDATE: In fairness, I should relay I just checked and the headline and blurb from the main page at CNBC (which has now switched to something else) said something like, "WHOLESALE INFLATION HEATS UP: The BLS reported that producer prices recorded their first year-over-year gain since November 2008..."

Great post, but strangely, they announce this price increase just at the time when I see grocery prices actually go down. I have no idea what magic they do there.

Nor will I ever understand why they insist on saying "the 12 months ended November 2009" instead of "the 12 months ending November 2009", which sounds more natural and less hickish.
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