Fed Preferred Inflation Index Jumps 6.8% in June, Largest Increase in Four Decades

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on July 29, 2022 | Sundance 

The federal reserve looks carefully at the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index when weighting inflation data.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis just released the PCE index for June [DATA HERE] and the results show a 6.8% increase in June from a year ago, the largest jump in four decades.

Wage growth in the second quarter (April, May, June) was generally strong, rising 1.6%.  However, it now looks like the consumption index and the wage indexes are creating their own inflationary spiral.  In addition to supply-side inflation, driven by Joe Biden’s energy costs, the labor costs are now increasing substantially which adds costs on the production side of the economy.

As wages go up to keep pace with supply side inflation, the prices of goods and services produced/handled by those workers also increases.  This is the inflation spiral that can get out of hand quickly.  The major concern (not necessarily expressed by pundits) is the inability of any institutional economic response to offset the originating inflation caused by the energy policy.  The economic team is pretending supply-side inflation created by energy policy doesn’t exist. They are only directing attention to demand side inflation.

As long as energy policy keeps driving the price of electricity, gasoline and petroleum products higher, workers need higher wages.  Those wage increases, while significant in scale, still lag the rising originating prices of the goods; and the wage growth adds to the final costs. Inflation then becomes structurally embedded, hyper-inflation begins.  This looks like the current situation.

The monetary policy makers (fed reserve) can only impact the demand side of the inflationary cycle.  Raising interest rates does reduce demand; however, it also reduces labor at the same time.   Monetary policy cannot impact the originating source of inflation that starts this spiral.  The core issue is Joe Biden’s Green New Deal energy agenda.

WASHINGTON – […] An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Fed jumped 6.8% in June from a year ago, the government said Friday, the biggest such jump in four decades. Much of the increase was driven by energy and food.

On a month-to-month basis, too, prices surged 1% in June, the biggest such rise since 2005. Even excluding the volatile food and energy categories, prices climbed 0.6% from May to June.

Employees’ wages, excluding government workers, jumped 1.6% in the April-June quarter, matching a record high reached last fall. Higher wages tend to fuel inflation if companies pass their higher labor costs on to their customers, as they often do.

Friday’s figures underscored the persistence of the inflation that is eroding Americans’ purchasing power, dimming their confidence in the economy and threatening Democrats in Congress in the run-up to the November midterm elections.

But more persistent drivers of inflation show little, if any, evidence of slowing. The wage data released Friday — a measure known as the employment cost index — indicated that paychecks were still growing at a robust pace. That’s good for workers, but it could raise concerns at the Fed about its effect on prices. Chair Jerome Powell specifically cited this measure during a news conference Wednesday as a source of concern for the the central bank’s policymakers.

“This is a (report) that’s going to keep Fed officials up at night,” said Omair Sharif, president of Inflation Insights. (read more)

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