Inflationary Pressure Is Yet Again Right Around the Corner

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Inflation! It’s always sneaking up on us:

U.S. consumer-price gains accelerated in October for the third-straight month largely due to rising energy costs, the latest sign inflation pressures in the economy are firming….The “report provided further confirmation of strong energy base effects boosting headline CPI,” said Barclays economist Blerina Uruçi. “Although core inflation rose less than expected, we still believe that domestic price pressures remain strong.

Hold on to your britches. Here’s what the various measures of inflation look like through October:

Yes, you read that chart right. Headline CPI (the blue line) soared all the way to…1.6 percent. But of course, the Fed supposedly doesn’t care about that anyway. They care about core inflation (the red line). Core CPI is slightly above 2 percent, but has been flat all year. No acceleration there. But wait. The Fed doesn’t care about core CPI either. They rely on the PCE inflation index, which is…hovering around 1 percent (the green line). Data for October isn’t even available yet. And data for core PCE isn’t available either.

But what about future inflation? Well, the 10-year breakeven skyrocketed from 1.51 percent in September to 1.67 percent in October. In other words, expected inflation bumped upward slightly, but is still well below 2 percent and has been trending downward for the past two years:

And yet, inflation is always right around the corner. Here’s the very last paragraph of the Journal article:

Separately Thursday, data showed workers’ earnings were flat in October from September, when adjusting for inflation. Stronger inflation offset the increase hourly wages, and the average workweek was unchanged.

Yeah, inflationary pressure is really a big threat. The labor market is so tight that wages were completely flat. Sigh.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest