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Email ‘Mistake' on Inflation Data Prompts Questions on What Is Shared

·1 min

One afternoon in late February, an employee at a statistical agency sent an email about a change in the way the government calculates inflation, sparking interest among economists on Wall Street. They had been puzzled by an unexpected increase in housing costs in the Consumer Price Index and had reached out to the agency for clarification. The economist explained the technical change in the email and suggested that it could result in longer periods of elevated inflation, potentially impacting the Federal Reserve’s decision to cut interest rates. Wall Street trade securities tied to inflation or rates, so the implications were significant. The email was only sent to a small group of people.