Inflation Rises to 44-Year Low

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These days the editor in me is usually well suppressed, but can still be provoked. "Inflation Rose in April at Lowest Rate Since the 60s," said a headline in the New York Times yesterday. I scratched my head. The first paragraph said it again. How could this be?

Inflation fell in April on both of the usual measures. It did not "rise at its lowest rate since the 60s". Consumer-price inflation was 2.2% in the year to April, down from 2.3% in March. Core inflation, which excludes prices of food and energy, was 0.9% in the year to April -- the lowest since 1966 -- down from 1.1% in March.  Core prices rose at their lowest rate since the 60s. But what's a first derivative among friends?

Another thing. Why (oh why) was I made to read nine paragraphs, including one quotation telling me that the trend was soft and another that it was benign, before I actually got to the 12-month CPI figure? And if all this wasn't annoying enough, look what happened to the markets.

The WSJ headline said: "Inflation at 44-Year Low". Good. Thank you. Especially for not saying, "Inflation Rises to 44-year Low" -- an easy mistake to make.


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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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