Consumers Price Index rose in August

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for shelter and medical care were the major factors in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase, outweighing a decline in the energy index. The energy index fell 1.9 percent in August as the gasoline index declined 3.5 percent. The food index was unchanged for the third month in a row.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in June and July. Along with the indexes for medical care and shelter,the indexes for recreation, used cars and trucks, and airline fares were among the indexes that increased in August. The indexes for new vehicles and household furnishings and operations declined over the month.

The all items index increased 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending August; the 12-month increase has remained in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 percent since the period ending December 2018. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since July 2018. The food index rose 1.7 percent over the last year while the energy index declined 4.4 percent.

Food

The food index was unchanged in August. The index for food at home declined for the third month in a row, falling 0.2 percent. The index for meats, poultry,fish, and eggs decreased 0.7 percent in August as the index for eggs fell 2.6 percent. The index for fruits and vegetables, which rose in July, fell0.5 percent in August; the index for fresh fruits declined 1.4 percent, but the index for fresh vegetables rose 0.4 percent. The index for cereals and bakery products fell 0.3 percent in August after rising 0.3 percent in July.

The index for other food at home rose 0.3 percent in August after declining 0.7 percent in July. The index for dairy and related products also increased in August, rising 0.2 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages was unchanged in August.

The index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent in August, the same increase as in July. The indexes for full service meals and for limited service meals both increased 0.2 percent over the month.

The food at home index rose 0.5 percent over the last 12 months. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the span, with nonalcoholic beverages (1.7 percent) rising the most. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was the only one to decline, falling 0.6 percent. The index for food away from home rose 3.2 percent over the last 12 months, with the index for full service meals increasing 3.4 percent and the index for limited service meals rising 3.1 percent.

Energy

The energy index declined 1.9 percent in August, its third decline in the last 4 months. The gasoline index fell 3.5 percent in August following a 2.5-percent increase in July. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 4.3 percent in August.) The electricity index also declined in August, falling 0.3 percent after rising in July. The index for natural gas, however, increased slightly in August, rising 0.1 percent after falling in each of the last 7 months.

The energy index decreased 4.4 percent over the past 12 months as all the major energy component indexes declined. The gasoline index fell 7.1 percent, and the fuel oil index declined 8.4 percent over the year. The index for natural gas declined 3.5 percent over the past year, and the index for electricity fell slightly, decreasing 0.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in June and July. The medical care index was the largest contributor to the August increase, rising 0.7 percent. The index for hospital services rose sharply in August, increasing 1.4 percent, and the index for nonprescription drugs increased 1.6 percent. However, the index for physicians’ services was unchanged, and the index for prescription drugs declined slightly, falling 0.2 percent.

The shelter index rose 0.2 percent in August, following 0.3 percent increases in June and July. The indexes for rent and for owners’ equivalent rent both advanced 0.2 percent in August. The index for used cars and trucks rose 1.1 percent in August, its third consecutive increase. The recreation index rose 0.5 percent in August, its largest increase since December 2018. The index for airline fares continued to rise in August, increasing 1.7 percent following a 2.3-percent advance in July. The index for personal care rose 0.3 percent in
August after increasing 0.4 percent in July. Also increasing in August were the indexes for apparel, for motor vehicle insurance, and for tobacco.

Few indexes declined in August, but the new vehicles index continued to fall, decreasing 0.1 percent following a 0.2-percent decline in July. The index for household furnishings and operations also decreased in August, falling 0.1 percent after rising in each of the past 3 months.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the past 12 months, with most major component indexes rising over the span. The shelter index increased 3.4 percent over the last year, and the medical care index rose 3.5 percent.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 256.558 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index was unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 1.5 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 250.112 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index was unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index was unchanged on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the past 10 to 12 months are subject to revision.