Keeping Track ...

work force efficiency

the us economy generated mixed signals on inflation last week. One report showed productivity of US workers (see chart above) surging 4 percent in the first quarter, signaling an economy in top shape with little sign of inflation after nine years of growth.

But last Friday's report on the Consumer Price Index showed an unexpectedly sharp increase for retail prices, up 0.7 percent, catching economists and Wall Street by surprise.

Stocks plunged almost 200 points, even though the annual inflation rate remains tame and manageable at 2.3 percent.

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