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Inflation’s dual cores

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. core inflation (i.e., excluding food and energy) is about 1.75%. Overall inflation measures combine the prices of both goods and services, but these two categories do not always behave in the same way. The graph above shows annual changes in the consumer price index for core services (purple) and core commodities (red). For about three years after the end of the recession, prices for goods and services changed at about equal rates. But the inflation environment has become a bit more complex in recent years: In 2012, growth in commodities prices began to slow and eventually turned negative. In contrast, prices for services have continued to grow at close to 2.5%.

How this graph was created: Add the two series listed below and use the “Graph Settings” option to set “Graph type” to “Bar.” Make sure that “Stacking” is listed as “None.” Then set “Units” to “Percent Change from Year Ago” for each series. Change “Frequency” to “Quarterly” and “Aggregation Method” to “End of Period.”

Suggested by Ian Tarr.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CUSR0000SACL1E, CUSR0000SASLE

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