Personal Consumption Expenditures PCE: What It Is and Measurement

CPI measures only the out-of-pocket healthcare costs of households where PCE includes healthcare purchased on behalf of households by third parties, including employer-provided health insurance. In the United States, employer health insurance is a large component and accounts for much of the difference in weights. The personal consumption expenditures number shows how Americans collectively spend their money.

  1. Though GDP is typically calculated on an annual basis, it is sometimes calculated on a quarterly basis as well.
  2. “A comparison of measures of core inflation.” Economic Policy Review, Vol.
  3. Tracked from month to month, it is an indicator of the economy’s health overall.
  4. However, core PCE and CPI are similar, and both help to determine how much inflation is in the economy.
  5. Whereas a lower-than-expected Core PCE reading may alleviate concerns about inflation and prompt investors to take on more risk, potentially favoring higher-yielding currencies over the USD.
  6. Core PCE inflation plays an important role in the U.S. financial system because the Federal Reserve references it to gauge U.S. inflation when setting monetary policy.

This evidence suggests that the first release of the index excluding food and energy should be interpreted with care. Also, this evidence suggests that from the point of view of the stability across data vintages, the trimmed mean is preferable over the index excluding food and energy. However, if consumer income rises, called wage growth, while the prices of goods and services remain unchanged, consumers will have more purchasing power. Also, as investment portfolios and home prices rise, asset inflation occurs, which can provide additional money for consumers to spend. Also, oil and gas are commodities and are traded on exchanges where traders can buy and sell them.

The comparisons in the table above will vary over time as the relative weights of the components of the indexes change. Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility is often measured as either the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Food and energy prices are exempt from this calculation because their prices can be too volatile or fluctuate wildly.

Federal Reserve Economic Data: Your trusted data source since 1991

Gasoline represents a larger portion of a family’s monthly budget, so it’s weighted more heavily in calculating PCE. That means rising gas prices have a bigger impact on the overall index than cheaper tomatoes. Finally, the two sometimes take different approaches to measure the same item. The airfare difference mentioned above explained another 0.1 percentage point of the July-August wedge growth.

PCE vs CPI: What’s the Difference?

According to the BEA, most PCE (valued by market prices, including sales tax) comes from household purchases of new goods and services from private businesses. It also includes household purchases of new goods and services from the government. Other measures of inflation tracked by economists include the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Gross Domestic Product Price Index.

Comparing Two Measures of Core Inflation: PCE Excluding Food & Energy vs. the Trimmed Mean PCE Index1

Please review the copyright information in the series notes before sharing. Examples of services are legal advice, house how to read a candlestick chart cleaning, and plumbing. CPI and the PCE index both measure U.S. inflation in similar but ultimately different ways.

The BEA uses the current dollar value of PCE to calculate the PCE Price Index. As mentioned, PCEPI shows price inflation or deflation that occurs from one period to the next. Like most price indexes, the PCEPI must incorporate a deflator (the PCE deflator) and real values to determine the amount of periodic price change. Core PCE data helps central banks make informed decisions about monetary policy adjustments to manage inflationary pressures and support economic stability. Core PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) provides traders with valuable insights into inflationary pressures and anticipates potential changes in currency values.

If the Core PCE reading suggests higher inflation in one country compared to another, it can lead to a divergence in interest rates between the two economies. Higher interest rates can attract capital flows and increase demand for the currency of the country with relatively higher rates. Therefore, a stronger Core PCE reading in the US compared to other countries may appreciate the USD against those currencies. Core PCE is measured by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) monthly.

The Preferred Measure of Core Inflation

The first is the relative importance of housing, which is due in part to the difference in scope mentioned above. CPI contains a large component of owner-equivalent rent, which by definition is an imputed value and not a real direct expenditure. This again stems from the definition of the index and the surveys used.

The Fed depends on the nuances that the PCEPI reveals because even minimal inflation can be considered an indicator of a growing economy. As a result, while adding Core PCE data might give benefits for traders, it’s critical to be aware of the related risks and develop a holistic approach that accounts for potential market volatility. Annual core PCE inflation in January dropped slightly from December’s reading of +2.9% year over year. The Fed uses the core PCE price index as its preferred measure of U.S. inflation.

This figure can provide an idea of economic strength and how price changes can affect spending. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE), also known as consumer spending, is a measure of the spending on goods and services by people of the United States. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a U.S. government agency, PCE accounts for about two-thirds of domestic spending and is a significant driver of gross domestic product (GDP). PCE data includes consumer spending on goods and services from private businesses and the government and non-profit institutions and US residents in foreign countries. It also encompasses spending on behalf of households by third parties, such as employer-paid health insurance and government-funded programs.

This can provide a view of spending that accounts for more goods and services actually purchased. When people spend without hesitation, it usually means that the economy is doing well. When they cut back on spending, it points to problems in the overall economic picture. PCE also consists of spending by nonprofit institutions to provide services to households, household purchases of used goods, and the purchases of goods and services by U.S. residents in foreign countries. The PCEPI is also weighted by data acquired through business surveys, which tend to be more reliable than the consumer surveys used by the CPI.

Core inflation is considered an indicator of underlying long-term inflation. The PCE data for January 2024 showed an increase in personal consumption expenditures to just over $19 trillion, which is an increase of 0.2%. Both the PCE Price Index and the Core PCE Price Index (which, again, excludes prices for food and energy) show how much prices change from one period to another. Breakdowns of the PCEPI show price inflation/deflation by category as well.

Written By