A key inflation indicator rose a faster-than-expected 3.1% in April as price pressures built in the rapidly expanding U.S. economy, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
The core personal consumption expenditures index was forecast to increase 2.9% after rising 1.9% in March. Federal Reserve officials consider the measure to be the best gauge for inflation, though they watch a number of metrics.
As part of its price stability mandate, the Fed considers 2% to be healthy, though it is committed to letting the level average higher than usual in the interest of promoting full employment.
The index captures price movements across a variety of goods and services and is generally considered a wider-ranging measure for inflation as it captures changes in consumer behavior and has a broader scope than the Labor Department’s consumer price index. The CPI accelerated 4.2% in April.
Over the past month, core PCE rose 0.7 %, also quicker than the expected 0.6%.
Including volatile food and energy prices, the headline PCE index jumped 3.6% year over year and 0.6% from March.
That increase in inflation came with a sharp deceleration in personal income, which declined 13.1%. But that actually was less than the 14% estimate. Personal income had surged 20.9% in March following the latest round of government stimulus checks.
Even with the $3.2 trillion decline in personal income, the savings rate remained elevated at 14.9%. Consumer spending rose 0.5%, in line with estimates.
Disposable personal income, after taxes and other withholdings, tumbled 14.6%.
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