Sluggish Economy May Be Due to Frigid Winter

Bloomberg News reports the producer price index moved up 1.6 percent in February, the most since June 2009, according to Labor Department figures.  The article says the combination of higher fuel and food prices coupled with a struggling housing market put a strain on disposable income.  The consumer price index rose .03 percent, the biggest jump since June 2009.  Energy prices rose 3.3 percent, propelled by a 15 percent increase in home heating oil; food prices increased 3.9 percent, the largest jump since November 1974, and housing starts fell 23 percent. The frigid winter that covered most of North America may have limited housing starts and contributed to the higher home heating cost.  Nevertheless, say some analysts, it could be the start of an inflationary trend, and a definite downside to the economy.

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