Consumers Prices Dropped in March for First Time in 13 Months

Consumer prices dropped 0.3 percent in March, which is the largest single-month drop in over two years. A labor department release from Friday revealed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped 0.3 percent in the month of March, the largest drop since prices fell 0.6 percent in January 2015. This is the first monthly decline in consumer price in 13 months. According to the release, a decline in gasoline prices played a significant factor in the decline in consumer prices. The wireless telephone services industry, the auto industry, and the clothing industry all saw price decreases in March. Hourly wage increases, after adjusted for inflation, saw a 0.3 percent increase. Despite the drop, some economists remain skeptical. Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd., suggested that another month with a significant consumer price drop is unlikely. “One very soft month does not make a new trend, though, so we will be looking for a clear rebound in April,” he offered. ““Another month like March, though, and a June rate hike will become much less likely.” Some sectors saw price increases. In March, the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, tobacco, airline fares, and alcoholic beverages all increased.

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