The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the April Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 2.46%, up from 2.36% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 2.14%, up from the previous month's 2.12% and above the Fed's 2% PCE target.

Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after falling 0.1 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.5 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The indexes for gasoline and shelter were the largest factors in the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index, although the food index increased as well. The gasoline index increased 3.0 percent, more than offsetting declines in other energy component indexes and led to a 1.4-percent rise in the energy index. The food index rose 0.3 percent, with the food at home index rising 0.3 percent and the index for food away from home increasing 0.2 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in April. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent, with other indexes mixed. The indexes for household furnishings and operations, personal care, tobacco, medical care, and apparel all increased in April, while those for used cars and trucks, new vehicles, recreation, and airline fares all declined.

The all items index rose 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending April; this figure has been mostly trending upward since it was 1.6 percent for the period ending June 2017. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent for the 12 months ending April. The food index increased 1.4 percent, and the energy index rose 7.9 percent. [More…]

Investing.com was looking for a 0.2% MoM change in seasonally adjusted Headline CPI and 0.1% in Core CPI. Year-over-year forecasts were 2.5% for Headline and 2.2% for Core.

The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century. The highlighted two percent level is the Federal Reserve's Core inflation target for the CPI's cousin index, the BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.

Headline and Core CPI since 2000

The next chart shows both series since 1957, the year the government first began tracking Core Inflation.

Headline and Core CPI

In the wake of the Great Recession, two percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation. However, at their December 2012 FOMC meeting, the inflation ceiling was raised to 2.5% while their accommodative measures (low Fed Funds Rate and quantitative easing) were in place. They have since reverted to the two percent target in their various FOMC documents.

Federal Reserve policy, which in recent history has focused on core inflation measured by the core PCE Price Index, will see that the more familiar core CPI is now above the PCE target range of 2 percent.

Read more updates by Jill Mislinksi