Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Consumer Prices Up, Factory Output Slows


WASHINGTON - Consumer inflation accelerated in July, reflecting a big jump in gasoline and other energy prices. In evidence that the economy is slowing, industrial output in July slipped to just half the June pace.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that its closely watched Consumer Price Index rose by 0.4 percent last month, double the 0.2 percent increase in June. While energy costs had fallen in June, they rose by 2.9 percent last month, the biggest increase in three months.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported that output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities increased by 0.4 percent last month, just half of the 0.8 percent gain in June.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, slowed in July, rising by just 0.2 percent after four straight months of 0.3 percent gains. This slowdown, which was helped by a 1.2 percent drop in clothing prices, was likely to encourage officials at the Federal Reserve, who are counting on a slowing economy to reduce inflation pressures.

Gee, I'm glad to see that the bag of T-shirts I bought last month helped things out.

The rise in industrial production was the slowest since no gain at all in May. Output at manufacturing industries edged up a tiny 0.1 percent, but this weakness was offset by stronger gains in other sectors of the economy.

Output at the nation's utilities shot up by 2 percent in July, reflecting higher production at electric utilities in response to warmer-than-normal temperatures. Output at the nation's mines, a category that also includes oil and gas production, rose 0.8 percent in July, reflecting increased demand for domestic energy supplies.

Gains for the oil companies? Go figure. Global warming been bery, bery good to dem. Thanks, Chimp, and to the big Dick on your shoulder as well. Thanks for everything. You bastards.

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