The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand for the year ending February 2019 rose just 1.9%, calming inflation fears. When adjusted to eliminate foods, energy and trade services, the PPI increased 2.3% for the same period. When the annual price increases experienced by producers are relatively low, consumers typically can expect prices they pay to stay stable.
Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 1.9%, seasonally adjusted for the year ending February 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The change in real average hourly earnings, combined with a 0.3% decrease in the average workweek, created a 1.6% increase in real average weekly earnings. Production and nonsupervisory employees, who are typically among the lower paid, saw real average hourly earnings increase 2.2%. After factoring in the 0.6% decrease to their average workweek, real average weekly wages rose 1.5%.
. . . and what's down? According to the BLS, lettuce (14.5%), tax prep and accounting services (13.8%), laundry equipment (8.9%) and health insurance (7.7%) showed some of the biggest price increases for the year ending February 2019. The price of televisions dropped 16.8%, followed by telephone hardware and calculators (-15.1%), infants' equipment (-11.5%), and dishes and flatware (-9.1%).
Americans in January 2019 were feeling more confident about their finances than a year prior, according to a recent Gallup Poll. More than two-thirds of respondents said they expected to be better off in the year ahead. Half said they were better off than the year before.