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Working Papers

November 2023, No. 23-10

An Alternative Measure of Core Inflation: The Trimmed Persistence PCE Price Index

John O'Trakoun

I introduce the "trimmed persistence PCE," a new measure of core inflation in which component prices are weighted according to the time-varying persistence of their price changes. The components of trimmed persistence personal consumption expenditures (PCE) display less tendency to mechanically pass-through the level of the prior period's inflation to the current period; thus, the impact of the current stance of monetary policy and real economic factors are more likely to be visible in recent trimmed persistence inflation compared to headline inflation. Trimmed persistence inflation performs comparably to existing popular measures of core inflation in terms of volatility and relationship with economic slack. Model selection procedures confirm trimmed persistence PCE contributes additional information to inflation forecasting models when stacked against other popular measures of core inflation. Applying the new index in a Taylor rule analysis suggests the Fed's aggressive path of federal funds rate hikes during the pandemic may have achieved appropriately restrictive levels by the fourth quarter of 2022, clearing the way for more measured policy adjustment thereafter as risks of policy overshooting became more salient.

Data last updated: 6/28/2024


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