The Labor Department's eagerly anticipated inflation report for December is out, and it shows inflation again slowed, this time to 6.5% from a year earlier. That's down from 7.1% in November and marks the sixth straight year-over-year decrease since the figure hit a peak of 9.1% in June. It's also the smallest annual increase since October 2021, per CNBC. That said, it remains shoulders above the 2.1% average in the three years before the pandemic, reports the Wall Street Journal.
CNBC notes that the consumer price index—a measure of the cost of a broad basket of goods and services—was down 0.1% for the month as expected. It's the first monthly drop since May 2020, per the AP, which offers its overall take: The report "bolster[s] hopes that inflation's grip on the economy will continue to ease this year and possibly require less drastic action by the Federal Reserve to control it ... [and] add to growing signs that the worst inflation bout in four decades is gradually waning. Still, the Fed doesn’t expect inflation to slow enough to get close to its 2% target until well into 2024. The central bank is expected to raise its benchmark rate by at least a quarter-point when it next meets at the end of this month." Dow futures were up 0.1% on the news. (Read more inflation stories.)