The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported their latest consumer price index (CPI) inflation data this past Thursday. According to the BLS, U.S. consumer prices for the month of February 2011 were up 2.11% on a year-over-year basis compared with February 2010.
February’s year-over-year increase of 2.11% was up 29% from January’s year-over-year increase of 1.63% and is now above the Federal Reserve’s informal inflation target of 1.5% to 2%.
Even the manipulated BLS numbers are showing that price inflation is beginning to spiral out of control, yet the mainstream media is doing everything possible to downplay inflation. Despite the BLS’s reported rate of price inflation rising above the Fed’s target, the media is ignoring this and referring to “core CPI”, which excludes food and energy (the two very things Americans need the most to live and survive). The media is focusing on the core CPI number, which was up 1.09% from a year ago compared to a year-over-year increase of 0.95% in January (even the growth of this meaningless number is rapidly rising), and saying that inflation remains below the Fed’s target.
On a month-to-month basis, the CPI rose 0.5% in February. This was based off of a 2.2% monthly increase in unadjusted gasoline prices. The U.S. government’s own Department of Energy (DOE) reported gasoline prices up 3.7% last month (which NIA considers to be a lot more reliable). Based on a 3.7% increase in gasoline prices like the DOE reported, the month-to-month increase in the CPI was actually 0.6%.
NIA believes that real year-over-year price inflation in the U.S. is now approximately 6% on a conservative basis. NIA predicts that even the BLS’s artificially low manipulated CPI will rise above 3% on a year-over-year basis by the early summer.
In November of 2010, the CPI was only up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis. At 2.11% in the month of February, the CPI’s year-over-year growth has risen by 92% over a period of just three months. In percentage terms, it is shocking just how fast CPI increases are rapidly accelerating. Yet, not one person in the mainstream media is pointing to this 92% figure, which NIA considers to be the most important (it is probably the most accurate piece of data that we can possibly derive from the BLS’s CPI reporting).
The media continues to say inflation is low and not a problem. At the current rate of 92% in quarterly (three month) increases to year-over-year CPI growth, the CPI’s year-over-year increases could exceed 4.05% by May, but NIA is being conservative with its projection of 3% in official reported year-over-year CPI growth to be reached by June of 2011. By then, NIA believes real price inflation will be around 7%. In our opinion, real U.S. price inflation is likely to rise into the double-digits in the second half of 2011.