Consumer Price Index Increased 0.4% in August

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index was broad-based; a sharp rise in the used cars and trucks index was the largest factor, but the indexes for gasoline, shelter, recreation, and household furnishings and operations also contributed. The energy index rose 0.9 percent in August as the gasoline index rose 2.0 percent. The food index rose 0.1 percent in August after falling in July; an increase in the food away from home index more than offset a slight decline in the food at home index.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in August after increasing 0.6 percent in July. The sharp rise in the index for used cars and trucks accounted for over 40 percent of the increase; the indexes for shelter, recreation, household furnishings and operations, apparel, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares also rose. The indexes for education and personal care were among the few to decline.

The all items index increased 1.3 percent for the 12 months ending August; this figure has been rising since the period ending May 2020, when the 12-month increase was 0.1 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months. The food index increased 4.1 percent over the last 12 months, with the index for food at home rising 4.6 percent. Despite recent monthly increases, the energy index fell 9.0 percent over the last 12 months.

Food

The food index rose 0.1 percent in August after falling in July. The index for food at home fell slightly in August, decreasing 0.1 percent after falling 1.1 percent the prior month. The August decline was mostly caused by the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, which fell 1.7 percent in August, its second consecutive monthly decline after sharp increases in prior months. The beef index fell 4.4 percent in August after declining 8.2 percent in July. The cereals and bakery products index also declined in August, falling 0.2 percent.

The remaining four major grocery store food group indexes increased in August. The index for dairy and related products rose 1.5 percent in August after declining in June and July. The index for other food at home rose 0.5 percent in August, the index for fruits and vegetables rose 0.2 percent, and the index for nonalcoholic beverages advanced 0.1 percent.

The index for food away from home continued to rise in August, although its 0.3-percent increase was the smallest monthly increase since April. The index for limited service meals advanced 0.4 percent in August after rising 0.6 percent in July. The index for full service meals increased 0.1 percent in August following a 0.4-percent increase in July.
The food at home index increased 4.6 percent over the last 12 months. All six major grocery store food group indexes rose over that span. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 7.1 percent over the last year as the index for beef increased 9.6 percent. Increases in the other groups ranged from 2.7 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 5.7 percent (dairy and related products). The index for food away from home rose 3.5 percent over the last year. The index for limited service meals increased 4.8 percent and the index for full service meals rose 2.8 percent over the last 12 months.

Energy

The energy index rose 0.9 percent in August, its third consecutive increase. The gasoline index continued to rise, increasing 2.0 percent in August after rising 5.6 percent in July. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices were unchanged in August.) The index for electricity decreased 0.2 percent in August after rising in July. The index for natural gas also declined, falling 0.2 percent in August after a 1.0-percent decrease in July.
The energy index fell 9.0 percent over the past 12 months. The gasoline index decreased 16.8 percent, while the fuel oil index fell 23.6 percent. The index for natural gas declined 0.5 percent and the index for electricity decreased slightly over the year, falling 0.1 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.4 percent in August after rising 0.6 percent in July. The index for used cars and trucks increased 5.4 percent in August, its largest monthly increase since March 1969. The shelter index increased in August, rising 0.1 percent, with the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rising 0.1 percent.

The recreation index increased 0.7 percent in August after falling in June and July. The index for household furnishings and operations increased 0.9 percent, its largest monthly increase since February 1991, as the index for furniture and bedding rose 1.6 percent and the index for appliances increased 2.0 percent. The apparel index rose 0.6 percent in August, its third consecutive monthly increase. The index for motor vehicle insurance rose 0.5 percent, and the index for airline fares increased 1.2 percent over the month.

The index for medical care rose slightly in August, increasing 0.1 percent. The indexes for hospital services and for physicians’ services both rose 0.1 percent, while the index for prescription drugs declined 0.2 percent. The new vehicles index was unchanged in August after rising in July. The education index decreased 0.3 percent in August, the first decline in the history of the index, which dates to 1993. The personal care index also fell 0.3 percent in August after rising the last 2 months.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.7 percent over the past 12 months. The shelter index rose 2.3 percent, and the medical care index increased 4.5 percent over the last 12 months. Indexes that declined over the 12-month span include apparel (-5.9 percent), airline fares (-23.2 percent), and motor vehicle insurance (-1.5 percent).
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.3 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 259.918 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.3 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 1.4 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 253.597 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.4 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.0 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.3 percent on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the past 10 to 12 months are subject to revision.

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