The PCE data for January 2024 showed an increase in personal consumption expenditures to just over $19 trillion, which is an increase of 0.2%. PCE data may reflect measurement errors that occur during collection and in source data provided to the BEA. It may also reflect classification errors (after collection) in the personal sector and other sectors comprising the national accounts (PCE is part of the National Income and Product Accounts constructed by the BEA).

  1. An estimated total for PCE is compiled by the BEA to measure and track changes in spending on consumer goods over time.
  2. The BEA uses consumer spending to calculate its inflation gauge, the PCE Price Index, which is why measuring and tracking PCE is important.
  3. That means rising gas prices have a bigger impact on the overall index than cheaper tomatoes.
  4. The CPI only counts medical services paid for directly by consumers.

However, remember CPI comes out earlier so still gets a lot of attention. Also again, looking at historical data these differences are very interesting to statisticians, but don’t tend to change the reported data all that much. PCE inflation is released a few weeks later, so is often less of a surprise as PPI.

That’s why economists often turn to core measures of inflation instead, which rise much more stably. All consumption expenditures data are totaled at the dollar values seen in the various surveys and statistical reports noted above, and then adjusted to current dollar values based on seasonal 6 steps to becoming an introducing broker adjustments and various monthly price indexes. In addition to reporting the three measurements above, the Personal Income and Outlays report includes the PCE Price Index (PCEPI) figures. The PCEPI measures the prices consumers pay for goods and services and changes in those prices.

The most noticeable difference is that the PCE price index is not as well known as the Consumer Price Index. Other measures of inflation tracked by economists include the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Gross Domestic Product Price Index. While inflation data is generally released pretty soon after the prior month ends, nowcasting can be even quicker.

Tracking the PCE Price Index

The PCE price index looks at U.S. inflation by measuring changes in the cost of living for households. It tracks the prices of a basket of goods and services, each with different weightings, to reflect how much a typical household spends every month. Prices for goods and services change constantly, rising and falling as companies and consumers react to trends in the economy. When you measure these price changes across an entire economy, that’s the rate of inflation.

Services are tasks performed for the benefit of the recipient. Examples of services are legal advice, house cleaning, and plumbing. Annual core PCE inflation in January dropped slightly from December’s reading of +2.9% year over year. The Fed uses the core PCE price index as its preferred measure of U.S. inflation. Inflation is typically described on a year-on-year basis, so saying that inflation is at 8% for September 2022, means that prices are 8% higher, on average, in September 2022 than in September 2021. It can help to think about this using the analogy of your weight.

How to Find the Best Stocks for Inflation

However, the CPI’s method is quicker and simpler as the spending on different items is held constant over a period of time, typically 1-2 years. That can mean that CPI data can overstate inflation due to being slower to recognize consumer substitutions. From a high level perspective, the two measures are quite similar. You can see a recent comparison of the series here and the differences have historically been fairly small. Nonetheless, PCE inflation tends to come in a little lower than CPI inflation. Core PCE is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation.

Ways Investors Can Make the Most of Inflation

Inflation isn’t like measuring your weight directly, but how much your weight is changing. So inflation is telling you, not that you weigh 170lbs, but that you have put on 5lbs over the past year. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. The PCE price index collects data on some different types of goods and services than the CPI does.

First off, it’s helpful to review what inflation is measuring. It is the change in prices over a given period, typically a month or year. Updated each month by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the PCE tracks what kinds of goods and services consumers buy and how much they pay for them, as well as how consumers change their spending habits when prices rise or fall. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI) measures price changes for household goods and services. Increases in the index warn of inflation while decreases indicate deflation. Personal consumption expenditures, or PCE, allows economists, consumers, and businesses to see how well the economy is faring from month to month.

Economists and analysts use PCE to make projections about future spending and economic growth. It gives companies insight into their business needs concerning products and services and can affect hiring and investing. The BEA uses consumer spending to calculate its inflation gauge, the PCE Price Index, which is why measuring and tracking PCE is important. One reason for this is that businesses add on a margin to make a profit, and those margins change over time and impact the prices consumers pay. Though margin changes don’t appear in the PPI data and can make a big difference to consumers.

Gasoline represents a larger portion of a family’s monthly budget, so it’s weighted more heavily in calculating PCE. That means rising gas prices have a bigger impact on the overall index than cheaper tomatoes. For example, if the price of bananas went to $20 each, it’s quite likely that most consumers would buy a lot fewer bananas and switch to buying more apples or other fruits. PCE data would, theoretically, pick up on this during the month it occurred as business sales for bananas would fall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *