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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Feb. inflation flat, new jobless claims in line with expectations

Consumer inflation in February remained unchanged from the month before, the government said moments ago, giving some relief to a nation struggling with high unemployment and a sluggish, halting recovery.

Also, 457,000 new jobless claims were filed last week, the government said, largely in line with expectations.

If you remove the volatile food and energy costs, core consumer inflation rose 0.1 percent last month.

Compared with February 2009, consumer inflation is up 2.1 percent, which is less than forecasters expected. Core year-over-year inflation rose 1.3 percent in February, which also was less than expected.

Forecasters expected consumer inflation to be flat for the month and core inflation to move up just a tick.

On new jobless claims, forecasters expected a number of 455,000 last week. It's hard for the economy to begin to consistently create new jobs until that number gets down into the low 400s.

Continuing claims last week came in a little higher than expected at 4.58 million.

The Federal Reserve said earlier this week that it expects inflation to remain low for the foreseeable future, possibly because there remains so much "slack" in the system, meaning high unemployment. It's hard for producers to raise prices in an economy that's dealing with 9.7 percent unemployment.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  March 18, 2010; 8:46 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: consumer price index, inflation, jobless claims  
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Next: Stocks seek direction following inflation, jobs data


Polar bear 911: There's lots of bull out there to shoot.

Posted by: tossnokia | March 18, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

For years they've told us with the growth in our population and immigration that the nation needs to create over 300,000 jobs a month to keep the Unemployment rate stable. A few months ago we hit 10.2% unemployment. Every month since then we've not only, not created, 300,000 plus jobs a month, but we've actually continued to lose jobs. Yet the unemployment rate has gone to 9.7% and stayed there. We're told its because so many millions of people have stopped looking for work. I suppose that must be the case, but in previous recessions the Unemployment rate continued to go up even after the economy stated adding jobs. It just seems like the numbers aren't adding up?

Posted by: valwayne | March 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

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