Inflation Numbers Are Due Out... How Much Will They Be Fudged?

With the January CPI data due to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, given their recent exercise in fudging the numbers, it's reasonable to wonder how much their planned “reweighting” of the elements of the CPI “basket” will influence the final numbers.

... Goldman's Jan Hatzius writes that "many clients have speculated that the changes in the category weights may be larger than normal due to the pandemic, particularly because the BLS had previously announced that they would not adjust their methodology in response to the atypical spending patterns—namely, the shift in spending towards durable goods—in 2020." Almost as if the BLS was told to scrap its previous plans and to revise inflation 10 months ahead of the midterms.

This is not to say the CPI report will be garbage, but it is fair to say the numbers will warrant extra scrutiny to unpack the influence of a large BLS thumb on the scale.