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Reporter spins inflation numbers to claim 'disinflation' is happening. But the truth quickly catches up.
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

Reporter spins inflation numbers to claim 'disinflation' is happening. But the truth quickly catches up.

A reporter tried to spin the latest inflation report, claiming it shows that "disinflation" is happening. But the reporter excluded a key metric that disproved his own claim.

What did the reporter claim?

To claim that "disinflation" is happening, Associated Press reporter Chris Rugaber excluded the price of shelter, a metric that is included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' calculation of "core inflation."

"There is finally some disinflation happening. One key metric — prices excluding food, energy, and shelter: DOWN 0.1% in October from September, first monthly decline since May 2020," Rugaber tweeted.

"Y-o-y still up 5.9%, the lowest since Nov. 2021," he noted.

The latest measure of the consumer price index showed that year-over-year inflation rose by 7.7% in October and 0.4% from September to October.

So-called "core inflation" — which excludes volatile energy and food prices — rose 6.3% year over year and 0.3% from September.

Rugaber was swiftly called out for excluding the price of shelter from his tweet. While the price of shelter was a significant contributor to inflation in October, the metric is included in calculations of "core inflation." Excluding it provides a false picture of inflation.

  • "This is quite the spin. I always appreciate people looking for a silver lining. That being said. The draw from shelter, energy, and food is forcing non-spending in other areas," another person pointed out.
  • "Minus the 3 most important things people use everyday we’re down an amount no one will be able to feel. Great news everyone!!!!" another person said.
  • "My batting average in High School was .925 if you exclude pop flies and groundouts," one person mocked.
  • "Excluding food and shelter... so prices dropped on goods people buy with expendable income? Likely because people have less so they had to, not any positive indicator. How is this a good thing other than cherry picking for political reasons?" another person said.
  • "The crime rate is 0% if you exclude crime," another person mocked.

Was there any improvement?

October's inflation numbers are slightly better than most expert predictions, but still they show an overheated economy.

Inflation in some areas decreased — airfare, apparel, used cars — but the "improvements" are only a mirage, according to Bankrate chief financial analyst Greg McBride.

"If this constitutes improvement, we’ve set a very low bar," McBride said, Yahoo News reported. "The pervasiveness of price increases remains problematic."

"The areas posting declines are for the most part either irregular or more discretionary in nature — airfare, used cars, and apparel," McBride explained. "Any meaningful relief for household budgets is still somewhere over the horizon."

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