Dec 1, 2022 - Economy

Key inflation gauge shows price increases slowed in October

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

A gauge of inflation that top economic policymakers monitor showed price gains slowed in October, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

Why it matters: Inflation remains stubbornly high, but the data is the latest to offer some hope that decades-high inflation is showing signs of slowing.

By the numbers: The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) index, the Federal Reserve's preferred gauge of inflation, rose 0.3% in October — as it did in August and September.

  • Prices rose 6% over the year through October, slowing from the 6.3% registered in September.
  • It's the so-called "core" measure of inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, that cooled notably. Core PCE rose 0.2% in October, after two consecutive months of 0.5% increases.
  • Prices rose 5% from October 2021, compared to the 5.2% in September.

Details: The report also provided details about consumer income and spending behavior in October.

  • Personal incomes, after taxes, rose 0.7% — outpacing the 0.3% increase in consumer prices.
  • Consumer spending rose 0.5%, the most since January, as shoppers spent more on dining out and new vehicles.

The big picture: This read on inflation offers a similar message to that of the Consumer Price Index, the alternate measure of price gains released a few weeks ago: Inflation cooled in October.

  • Still, the single month of data isn't enough for the Fed to back off its interest rate hiking campaign.
  • Fed chair Jerome Powell signaled that the Fed could begin raising rates by a smaller amount as soon as later this month.

Yes, but: Powell cautioned that there had not yet been "clear progress" on inflation and that the central bank still had "more ground to cover."

Go deeper