The inflation hawks are getting restless. They are anxious to seize on any evidence of rising inflation as an opportunity to push the Fed to raise interest rates.
For this reason, many may be excited by the latest data from the Commerce Department showing that the overall PCE deflator is up 2.1 percent over the last year, with the core (excluding food and energy prices) rising by 1.8 percent. As the headline of the AP article carried by the New York Times put it, "consumer spending slows; inflation pushing higher."
The case for a rise in the inflation rate is a bit weaker if we move out a decimal. The inflation rate in the core PCE deflator over the last year was 1.753 percent. This rounds up to 1.8 percent, but not by much.
Furthermore, this is a rent story. The rent component of the PCE has risen by 3.6 percent over the last year. If we pull this out, inflation in the core PCE would be just 1.3 percent over the last 12 months. That's not a lot to get excited over.