A key measure of inflation showed prices soaring by more than expected in June.
The personal consumption expenditure price index rose by 6.8 percent compared with 12 months earlier, an acceleration of inflation from the 6.3 percent annual gain in May, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Economists had expected a slightly lower reading of 6.6 percent. This is the biggest year-0ver-year gain since January of 1982.
Compared with the prior month, the personal consumption expenditure price index was up one percent, a big increase from the monthly gain of 0.6 percent in May and above the 0.9 percent expected. This is the largest month-over-month gain since February of 1981’s one percent gain.
Core PCE prices, which exclude food and energy prices, were up 4.8 percent compared with a year ago. Economists had expected this to hold steady at the 4.7 percent gain recorded in May. The monthly rise in core prices doubled the May figure, rising to 0.6 percent from 0.3 percent.
The Federal Reserve uses the PCE price index for its official two percent inflation target. It differs from the more familiar Consumer Price Index compiled by the Labor Department because it covers a wider basket of goods and services and assigns different weights to the prices it measures in calculating the aggregate figures.
Separately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that compensation costs for civilian workers jumped a seasonally adjusted 1.3 percent in the second quarter of 2022. Wages and salaries increased 1.4 percent and benefit costs rose 1.2 percent. Compared with a year ago, the Employment Cost Index is up 5.1 percent, more than the 4.6 percent expected and up from 4.5 percent in the first quarter.
Employment costs rose by even more for private sector workers. Compensation was up 5.5 percent compared with a year ago, with a 5.7 percent jump in wages and salaries and a 5.3 percent jump in benefits. On a quarterly basis, the compensation index rose 1.5 percent, up from 1.4 percent in the first quarter. Wages and salaries were up 1.6 percent and benefits up 1.3 percent.
Fed officials keep a close eye on these figuresd as well, believing that rising employment costs are an indicator of inflation becoming entrenched in the economy.