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‘Year-End Joy: Inflation Data Brings Seasonal Cheer!’

As the year draws to a close, people around the world look forward to the holiday season with a sense of anticipation. This anticipation is now shared by economists, as well, thanks to the latest inflation data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers indicate that U.S. consumer prices saw a modest increase of 1.7 percent since December of 2019 until November of 2020—which is after adjusting for seasonal variations. In light of this good news, it’s not surprising to see that consumer confidence is also on the rise. Although the pandemic has caused uncertainty throughout the nation, the inflow of economic data is providing hope that the rebound of the U.S. economy is continuing. Inflation, for example, has remained subdued throughout the crisis. Not only that, inflation has remained steady even as investors have worried about the Federal Reserve’s upcoming tapering ofAsset purchases. The Fed recently unveiled its monthly purchases of more than $120 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. The current purchases combined with the Fed’s promise of continuing low interest rates have put a lid on inflation and helped create stability in the financial markets. The good news continues beyond the realm of inflation. Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in November of 2020—down from 14.7 percent in April of 2020. The drop indicates the improvements made throughout the last eight months. Economists credit the aid provided through the CARES Act, unemployment assistance, and other Federal relief grants with preventing the rate from getting much higher. This aid also allowed people to continue spending during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Although economists may be debating the numbers, the sentiment among consumers is clear. As we head into the new year, people are feeling more confident that the economy is continuing its rebound and the effects of the pandemic may finally be in the rearview mirror. As 2020 draws to a close, the latest data releases from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are providing some holiday cheer. The inflation rate remains low and consumer confidence is on the rise. This data points to the fact that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, the economy is on its way to a successful recovery. Happy New Year!