Price growth slowed in February as inflation continues to wane.
Consumer prices rose 6% in February compared to last year, according to a Tuesday report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending September 2021 and a slowdown from January’s 6.4% and December’s 6.5% year-over-year growth. Compared to January 2023, prices in February rose 0.4%.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the Core CPI rose 0.5% from January and 5.5% from the same month in 2021.
Footwear prices in February were up 0.8% over last year, marking the second slowest growth in 23 months. Prices for men’s footwear were down 0.2%, while children’s footwear prices dropped 1% over last year. Women’s footwear prices, on the other hand, rose 2.9%.
According to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, as inflation continues to slow in the coming months, gains in footwear retail prices might ultimately turn into modest year-over-year declines.
“Inflation — while still too high — would continue to moderate and is likely to decelerate further — if slowly — in coming months,” said Gary Raines, chief economist at FDRA. “While headed in the right direction, this rate is still far above the Fed’s 2% target and it is likely to be quite some time before inflation eases closer a range the Fed is comfortable with.”
As inflation persists, the job market has stayed tight as wages increase across various industries. Meanwhile, in an effort to curb spending and rising prices, the Federal Reserve has implemented a series of interest rate hikes in recent months. In December, it raised rates another half a percentage point, marking the highest level in 15 years.
While these rate hikes are aiming to ease spending and cool inflation, they could potentially increase the chances of a recession in 2023 as well, the National Retail Federation’s chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a January report. However, he added this month that the economy appears “more resilient than expected” and that the U.S. economy will likely be able to avoid a recession — and even potentially see growth — in 2023.