The two key readings for inflation continue to diverge, according to numbers released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall Consumer Price Index declined 0.2 percent in February, but the core inflation reading, including all items other than food and energy, increased 0.3 percent in the month.
The energy index was the entire cause of the decline in the all items index, more than offsetting increases in the indexes for food and for other items. The gasoline index fell sharply, declining 13.0 percent. The food index increased by just 0.2 percent in February,
Meanwhile, the core index increased 0.3 percent in February, the same increase as January. The apparel index rose sharply in February, increasing 1.6 percent, its largest increase since February 2009. The shelter index repeated its January increase of 0.3 percent, and the index for lodging away from home rose 0.9 percent.