CPI: -0.7% for December, +0.1% YOY, Slowest Consumer Inflation Since 1954

The US Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation at the consumer level of the economy, was -0.7% in December and +0.1% year-over-year through December. Excluding volatile oil and food costs from the readings, “Core” CPI for December was 0% and +1.8% YOY through December. Here’s the November CPI report and below are the complete CPI numbers for 4Q2008. You can also view and download historical CPI data by scrolling down to our Data section on the right side of the site.

Overall CPI Fourth Quarter:
Oct-Mo= -1.0%, Nov-Mo= -1.7%, Dec-Mo=-0.7%
Oct-Yr= +3.7%, Nov-Yr= +1.1%, Dec-Yr=+0.1%

Core CPI Fourth Quarter
Oct-Mo= -0.1%, Nov-Mo= +0.0%, Dec-Mo=+0.0%
Oct-Yr= +2.2%, Nov-Yr= +2.0%, Dec-Yr=+1.8%

The yearly overall number of +0.1% CPI is the slowest pace of annual consumer inflation since 1954 when prices dropped -0.7%. This has a lot to do with dropping oil and food prices, but also just a huge drop in aggregate demand by a consumer that’s bearing the brunt of a harsh economy and 2.6m jobs lost for 2008.

Inflation is now within the Fed’s target comfort inflation zone of 1-2% and given the weakness of the consumer and businesses right now, deflation is the bigger concern. In addition to inflation data you can also see the right-menu of the site for a rundown of key US and global stocks, commodities and rates–quotes delayed 15-20 minutes.