NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. inflation data underperformed expectations on Thursday, providing reassurance that the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts were far from over.The chart below shows a month over month change in CPI inflation readings, which look to be trending slightly lower. The blue line represents the actual month over month movements and the red line shows a smoothed four-month moving average. The moving average signals that although stimulus efforts have been greatly increased in 2013, U.S. inflation continues to trend lower. Weak inflation and high, albeit improving, unemployment figures show that the recovery remains gradual. Monetary policy has remained simulative, but fiscal policy has proven to be counter-growth. January saw the implementation of tax hikes and March brought with it budget cuts, better known as the federal sequestration. As a testament to the level of pain fiscal policy is bringing to the economy, Wal-Mart ( WMT) reported that same-store sales for the first quarter were weaker as the consumer was hurt by such fiscal policy restraints. Similarly, factory activity has been hindered by government austerity, as seen in data releases that missed expectations for the Empire State regional manufacturing activity and industrial production on Wednesday. Monetary policy is aiming to counteract fiscal austerity. Until both act in an expansionary manner, economic weakness looks to persist.