April 16, 2009 |
The economy's performance in March offered a mixed picture, according to government data released Wednesday, with declining demand for appliances, furniture and other goods pulling down manufacturing output for a fifth straight month but falling fuel prices putting more money into consumers' pockets. Industrial production dropped 1.5% in March, and the amount of production capacity manufacturers used reached 69.3% -- the lowest level since the government began collecting the data in 1967.
October 17, 2008 |
Consumer prices were flat in September as retreating costs for gasoline, clothes and new cars helped to offset rising prices for food, medical care and other things. The new reading on the consumer price index, the government's most closely watched inflation barometer, came after prices actually fell 0.1% in August, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Those two months offered Americans a rare reprieve. Consumer prices have marched upward most of the year, surging 1.1% in June.
April 17, 2008 |
Inflation numbers released Wednesday showed that while the cost of everything else went up last month, clothes got cheaper. Americans have been paying less and less for T-shirts and pants and socks over the last decade, because labor and raw materials have been so cheap in the countries where most of the things we wear are made. But March's 1.3% decline in apparel prices in the government's main inflation indicator, the consumer price index, could well be one of the last.
February 21, 2008 |
An ominous scenario of rising prices and slowing growth showed itself in spades Wednesday as the government reported that consumer prices are rising at a fast pace even as the housing sector remains stuck in its worst slump in a quarter-century. The combination of inflation and faltering growth -- the infamous "stagflation" of the 1970s -- creates a potential double bind for economic policymakers: Fight one and risk feeding the other.
February 16, 2008 |
Consumer confidence slid to its lowest level in 16 years, factory output went flat and there were signs of a pick-up in inflation, according to data released Friday -- an ominous combination for an economy on the verge of recession. Slowing growth coupled with sharply rising prices is particularly challenging for policymakers because the main tool used to stimulate the economy -- cutting interest rates -- tends to fuel inflation.
January 17, 2008 |
U.S. shoppers faced moderate price rises in December, but that capped a year in which prices soared at the sharpest rate in 17 years, pressuring households also dealing with a steep housing downturn and tighter credit. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its consumer price index rose 0.3% in December, less than half November's 0.8% jump. But for all of last year, the key measure of inflation rose 4.1%, well ahead of the previous year's 2.5% gain and the steepest since 1990.
December 15, 2007 |
Led by higher gasoline prices, consumer inflation shot up in November by the largest amount in more than two years. The rise in inflation is coming at a time when economic growth is slowing sharply. "We are in store for a period of very weak if not recessionary growth and uncomfortably high inflation," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com. "People are going to get hit with both a weaker job market and having to pay more to fill their gas tanks and buy groceries."
December 14, 2007 |
Soaring energy costs helped fuel a record jump in wholesale inflation and an unexpectedly strong gain in retail sales, government reports showed Thursday, sending mixed signals about the state of the economy. The figures come as consumers struggle to get a fix on their financial future and economists scrutinize statistics, searching for signs of recession or resiliency. The latest economic data hinted at a bit of both. On the gloomy side, wholesale prices leaped 3.
November 16, 2007 |
U.S. consumer prices rose briskly last month on energy costs, but aside from volatile energy, inflation was largely contained, possibly leaving room for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to bolster a slowing economy. A second government report Thursday showed an unexpectedly steep rise in initial claims for jobless benefits last week, a suggestion that the labor market is softening as the economy lumbers under the weight of a housing downturn, tighter credit and higher energy prices.
August 16, 2007 |
Falling gasoline costs held U.S. consumer prices nearly in check in July and industrial output rose, according to data that suggested the economy was sound despite credit fears in financial markets. Other reports Wednesday showed a slight drop in New York state manufacturing activity this month and a decline in the amount of capital flowing into the U.S. in June.