Home Logon FTA Investment Managers Blog Subscribe About Us Contact Us

Search by Ticker, Keyword or CUSIP       

Blog Home
   Brian Wesbury
Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
   Bob Stein
Deputy Chief Economist
X •  LinkedIn
  The Consumer Price Index Declined 0.4% in March
Posted Under: CPI • Data Watch • Inflation
Supporting Image for Blog Post


Implications:  Consumer prices declined 0.4% in March, led lower by the largest monthly drop in energy costs in more than five years.  Outside of energy, prices were also pushed lower by airfares, lodging away from home (hotels and motels), as well as apparel (clothing).  This shouldn't come as a surprise given the impact of the Coronavirus and government-mandated shutdowns. The virus will continue to bring volatility to the data over the next few months, but keep in mind that these impacts are temporary.  Consumer prices are up 1.5% in the past year, a marked slowdown versus the upward trend in inflation prior to the Coronavirus.  Strip out the typically volatile food and energy sectors, and "core" prices declined 0.1% in March, the first monthly drop since 2010.  Core prices are still up 2.1% versus a year ago, but may continue to face some downward pressure in the near term.  The best news in today's report was that "real" (inflation-adjusted) average hourly earnings rose an impressive 0.8% in March and are up 1.6% in the past year.  However, the gain in wages was at least in part caused by greater layoffs at lower-paying jobs, which makes average earnings look better.  In the months ahead, real earnings per hour may continue to grow in spite of much higher unemployment as very generous unemployment benefits for the next four months (an additional $600 per week, on top of normal benefits) makes it tough for businesses to hire workers unless they boost wages.  A combination of disincentives for work while the Federal Reserve maintains a loose monetary policy will lead to a rebound in inflation rates later this year.  

Click here  for PDF version 

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2020 @ 12:21 PM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial professionals are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.
Follow First Trust:  
First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINRA. (Form CRS)   •  First Trust Advisors L.P. (Form CRS)
Home |  Important Legal Information |  Privacy Policy |  California Privacy Policy |  Business Continuity Plan |  FINRA BrokerCheck
Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.