The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released new information on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on Friday, showing slight changes from the earlier reported numbers. The newly calibrated CPI shows that prices rose 0.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis in December from November, rather than the previously estimated decline of 0.1%. The core Consumer Price Index (CPI), excluding the volatile food and energy categories, was revised upwards by 0.1 percentage points in December and November, respectively, to 0.4% and 0.3%.
The annual adjustments illustrate slight shifts in the month-on-month inflation trend for 2022. Data for November and October was revised up by 0.1 percentage points while December’s inflation was up 0.4% rather than 0.3%, as previously reported. The revisions don't change the overall storyline, according to Andrew Patterson, senior economist in Vanguard’s investment strategy group.
The CPI report for 2023 will be based on consumer spending patterns that took place in 2021, as opposed to 2022’s CPI data, which was based on spending data over 2019-2020. According to William Blair analyst Richard de Chazal, this makes the data more timely and relevant, and a better reflection of actual spending patterns.
The seasonal adjustments can help better gauge economic activity during the current unpredictable time, said Diane Swonk, KPMG chief economist, in a Twitter thread this week. The shifts, coupled with the rapid pace at which the economy is currently shifting, has made measuring current economic conditions more difficult, she added.
Overall, the adjusted data for 2022 shows that inflation continues to trend downward, even with the adjustments. With the newly released information, investors and economists can get a better understanding of the current economic conditions and have a more accurate measure of where the economy is headed.
0. “CPI for November & December Revised Higher” Newsmax, 10 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsmax.com/finance/streettalk/cpi-inflation-data-revision/2023/02/10/id/1108137/
1. “December consumer prices didn't actually fall” KAKE, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.kake.com/story/48363559/december-consumer-prices-didnt-actually-fall
2. “CPI Just Got Revised Higher for October through December. The Revisions Take a Bite out of “Disinflation” Hoopla” WOLF STREET, 11 Feb. 2023, https://wolfstreet.com/2023/02/10/cpi-just-got-revised-up-for-october-through-december-revisions-take-a-bite-out-of-disinflation-hoopla/