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Historical Disinflation Episodes: Which Falls First, Goods or Services?
FRB of St. Louis
2024.04.19
Annual inflation in the U.S. has slowed over the past year, decreasing by 2.9 percentage points from February 2023 to February 2024 and settling at 2.5%, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. Despite progress toward the Fed‘s 2% target, FOMC participants in March 2024 projected only a 0.4-percentage-point drop in PCE inflation over the coming year.1 Why is progress toward 2% inflation expected to slow? Historical experience―specifically, disinflationary episodes of the early and late 1980s―suggest that goods price inflation tends to fall quickly, while the last mile of disinflation is driven primarily by a lengthier disinflation of services.