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Consumer Prices Up As Expected, U.S. First-Time Unemployment Benefits Claims Also Rise

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February 29 2024 4:03AM

A highly anticipated report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed consumer prices in the U.S. increased in line with economist estimates in the month of January.

The Commerce Department said consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in January after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in December.

Economists had expected consumer prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices climbed by 0.4 percent in January after edging up by a revised 0.1 percent in December. The increase in core prices also matched estimates.

Meanwhile, the report said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 2.4 percent in January from 2.6 percent in December. The slowdown matched expectations.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth also slowed to 2.8 percent in January from 2.9 percent in December, in line with estimates.

The readings on inflation, which are said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, were included in the Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending in the month of January.

The report said personal spending jumped by 1.0 percent in January, while personal spending crept up by 0.2 percent during the month.

A separate report released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended February 24th.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 215,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 202,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 210,000 from the 201,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average edged down to 212,500, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 215,500.

At 9:45 am ET, MNI Indicators is scheduled to release its report on Chicago-area business activity in the month of February. The Chicago business barometer is expected to rise to 48.0 in February after slipping to 46.0 in January, although a reading below 50 would still indicate contraction.

The National Association of Realtors is due to release its report on pending home sales in the month of January at 10 am ET. Pending home sales are expected to increase by 1.0 percent in January after spiking by 8.3 percent in December.

At 10:50 am ET, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic is schedled to speak on the economic outlook, monetary policy and the state of the banking industry before the 2024 Banking Outlook Conference.

Chicago Federal Reserve President Austan Goolsbee is due to speak virtually on “Monetary Policy at an Unusual Time” before a webinar event hosted by the Princeton University Bendheim Center for Finance at 11 am ET.

At 1:15 pm ET, Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester is scheduled to speak on “Financial Stability/Regulation” before the Columbia University/Bank Policy Institute 2024 Bank Regulation Research Conference.

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams is due to participate in a moderated discussion before the Citizens Budget Commission 92nd Annual Gala at 8:10 pm ET.