A little known fact about yesterday’s CPI numbers: they weren’t as inflationary as you would have otherwise thought. It all comes down to decimals and rounding.
What The Expectations Were
- CPI: 0.1% increase in January
- Core CPI: 0.2% increase in January
What The Headlines Reported
- CPI: 0.2% increase in January
- Core CPI: 0.3% increase in January
What The Actual Figures Were
- CPI: 0.174% increase in January
- Core CPI: 0.256% increase in January
The rounding from three decimals places to one can really warp the interpretation of data. After all, without three decimal reporting, Ty Cobb is a career .4 hitter and Ted Williams is no more special than Ginger Beaumont at .3.
Interpreting economic growth requires precision and the current rounding-in-reporting method is anything but.