Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Some Things Never Change

The reality of this is neither another shocking nor surprising fact.  I think for many the reality is that if you are not one of the newly appointed important class - aka the "tech" sector - the rise in jobs and wages have passed you by.

I am moving and am facing massive dental bills that are not covered on insurance. The farce that is Obamacare did nothing to actually cover dental costs nor defer the actual continuing rise of medical costs, in fact may have contributed to making it worse through the consolidation of medical practices and facilities along with little to no oversight on drugs which I suspect is the largest contributory factor.

To say that this is news is to say, Really?

Rents and Medical Costs Drive Inflation’s Rise

WASHINGTON — Underlying inflation in the United States increased more than expected in February as rents and medical costs maintained their upward trend. 
Other data on Wednesday showed that the housing market continuing to strengthen last month and that manufacturing stabilized.
New projections from the Federal Reserve showed policy makers expected to make two rate increases by the end of the year, half the number forecast in December. The combination of stirring inflation, a steady housing sector and tightening labor market have raised the probability of a rate hike in June.
“It looks like the Fed remains really cautious, they are not prepared to move before June at the earliest. Today’s numbers, especially the inflation report, is a warning that the days of no price pressures are behind us,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.
The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, rose 0.3 percent last month after a similar gain in January.
That lifted the so-called core C.P.I. 2.3 percent in the 12 months through February, the largest increase since May 2012. That index advanced 2.2 percent in January.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said housing starts increased 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.18 million units last month, the highest level in five months.
Groundbreaking activity had been held back by adverse weather. While the rebound in housing starts offered a lift to growth estimates for gross domestic product in the first quarter, that was offset by a drop in utilities output as temperatures warmed up in February.
First-quarter growth is forecast around a 2 percent annual rate, an acceleration from the 1 percent rate logged in the final three months of the year.
In a third report, the Federal Reserve said industrial production declined 0.5 percent as mining and utilities tumbled. Industrial production rose 0.8 percent in January. But manufacturing output increased 0.2 percent last month, after spiking 0.5 percent in January.
The rise in factory output added to manufacturing surveys in suggesting that the downturn in the sector, which accounts for 12 percent of the American economy, had probably run its course. Factories have been hit by dollar strength and lower oil prices.
"The overall outlook for the U.S. industrial sector is beginning to look a little better,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief United States economist at TD Securities in New York.
The housing sector is being supported by a strengthening labor market, which is encouraging young adults to leave their parents’ homes. But builders cannot keep up with the demand for housing because of a shortage of lots and skilled workers.
The second month of broad increases in the core C.P.I. was driven by a 0.3 percent increase in rents, which followed a similar gain in January.
Medical care costs rose 0.5 percent after advancing by the same margin in January. Prescription drug prices rose 0.9 percent, while the cost of hospital services increased 0.5 percent. Apparel prices rose by the most in seven years.
The second straight month of increase in apparel prices is surprising because retailers have been giving big discounts to clear unwanted merchandise from their warehouses.
Consumers also paid more for new motor vehicles and used cars and trucks. But a 13 percent drop in gasoline prices, which offset both the increase in core C.P.I. and a 0.2 percent gain in food prices, led to the overall C.P.I.’s 0.2 percent decrease in February. The index was unchanged in January.
Last month’s drop resulted in the C.P.I.’s 1 percent increase in the 12 months through February, slowing after a 1.4 percent rise in January.

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