This Week: Producer Prices, Inflation Check, April Retail Sales

Inflation foresight

The Labor Department releases producer price data for April on Tuesday.

The producer price index measures inflation at the wholesale level, before businesses pass costs on to consumers. Wholesale inflation jumped in March, the latest sign that inflation pressures in the economy remain elevated. Analysts are forecasting that inflation edged higher in April.

Producer price index, annual percent change, seasonally adjusted:

Nov.: 0.8

Dec.: -1.1

Jan.: 1

Feb.: 1.6

March: 2.1

April (est.) 2.2

Source: FactSet.

Price check

The Labor Department releases its April report on consumer prices on Wednesday.

Analysts expect inflation at the consumer level edged lower to 3.4% in April. It rose to 3.5% in March and has been ticking higher in 2024. The rate of inflation had been cooling heading into 2024, but progress has seemingly stalled. That has created uncertainty about when and how much the Federal Reserve will cut its benchmark interest rate this year.

Consumer price index, annual percent change, not seasonally adjusted:

Nov.: 3.1

Dec.: 3.4

Jan.: 3.1

Feb.: 3.2

March: 3.5

April (est.): 3.4

Source: FactSet.

Retail sales update

The Commerce Department releases its latest monthly tally of U.S. retail sales Wednesday.

Analysts expect that retail sales rose 0.4% last month after jumping 1% in March. Shopping by consumers accounts for nearly 70% of the U.S. economy and retail sales are watched closely as a measure of economic health. Consumer spending has been driving economic growth, despite high inflation.

Retail sales, monthly percent change, seasonally adjusted:

Nov.: 0.1

Dec.: 0.4

Jan.: -1.1

Feb.: 1

March: 1

April (est.): 0.4

Source: FactSet.