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Weekly economic review & outlook
Inflation still modest for now

MAR. 15, 2021

You Need to Know

Week in review

Higher energy prices push up overall inflation, but tame core

The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.4 percent for February – although year-over-year readings for both overall and core inflation remain tepid.

Job openings jump nearly to pre-COVID levels – more hiring in coming months?

There were 6.9 million job openings for January, the highest level of the recovery, as firms plan for better times ahead.

Week Ahead

Forecasts

Retail sales should see another large gain

Plummeting COVID cases, lighter government restrictions, and additional spending from December’s stimulus checks should push retail sales up strongly.

Housing starts could climb to new 14-year high

Continued strong housing demand along with January’s jump in building permits should boost February housing starts, perhaps to the strongest pace in 14 years.

Rising energy prices again pushed up costs for consumers as the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.4 percent for February. Increased gasoline prices led the way, with an average of around $2.70 per gallon at the end of February before climbing further in March. The core CPI increased by a weaker 0.1 percent as price growth excluding energy and food components remained very low.

 

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