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Scott Jagow: There’s really no reason to get too worked up about inflation — yet. This morning, the government said there was a sizeable increase in retail prices last month. But again, as much as I hate repeating this, it’s still all about food and gasoline. Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.
Janet Babin: Prices for crude oil hit record levels in May. Food costs could compete in the Olympic high jump. So it’s no surprise that consumer prices rose six-tenths of a percent last month.
Richard DeKaser: Does this mean that the inflationary genie is out of the bottle? I don’t think so.
That’s Richard DeKaser, Chief Economist at National City Corporation. He says it’s the core inflation numbers that make him so calm. Core excludes food and energy, and it rose just two-tenths of a percent last month.
DeKaser says core numbers and labor costs are a better measure of true inflation.
DeKaser: So while we have unambiguously suffered an intense price shock for commodities, and especially energy, labor costs remain remarkably benign — over the past year up less than 1 percent.
The threat of inflation remains, but at least some economists, like DeKaser, think that threat is overstated.
I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.