Consumer Prices Remain Unchanged; LEI Index Edges Up 0.1%
March 18, 2010 - Remaining unchanged since January, the Consumer Price Index held steady last month. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that increases in car prices, food and medical care were largely compensated for declining energy prices, allowing the Index to produce consistent results. Overall, the level reading was anticipated by economists.
Excluding food and energy, the core CPI rose 0.1%. Over the past year, the CPI has risen 2.1% with the core rate growing a total of 1.3%. Thus far, consumer prices are showing little inflation, which will allow the Fed to keep interest rates down for a little while.
Following the Consumer Price release, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index (LEI) showed slower economic growth than originally projected with just a 0.1% increase in February. The month marked the smallest increase in nearly a near.
Only four of the ten indicators increased during the month crediting heavy snowstorms for depressing parts of the country. With unemployment still at high levels, there is a much lower level of consumer spending.