Consumer Prices Jump Again in July, Rebounding from Pandemic Lows, Up 0.6%

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.0 percent before seasonal adjustment. The gasoline index continued to rise in July after increasing sharply in June and accounted for about one quarter of the monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index.

The energy index increased 2.5 percent in July as the gasoline index rose 5.6 percent. This was partially offset by the food index, which decreased 0.4 percent in July, with the index for food at home declining 1.1 percent. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in July, its largest increase since January 1991. The index for motor vehicle insurance increased sharply in July, as it did the previous month.

The indexes for shelter, communication, used cars and trucks, and medical care also increased in July, while the index for recreation declined. The all items index increased 1.0 percent for the 12 months ending July, a larger increase than the 0.6-percent rise for the period ending June. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 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 increasing in July, the energy index fell 11.2 percent over the last 12 months.

Food

The food index decreased 0.4 percent in July, its first decrease since April 2019. The food at home index fell 1.1 percent in July after increasing 0.7 percent in June. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes fell in July. The index for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs decreased 3.8 percent in July. This decline was led by the index for beef, which fell 8.2 percent in July after increasing sharply in recent months.

The index for dairy and related products declined 0.8 percent in July after a 0.4-percent decrease in June. The index for nonalcoholic beverages fell 0.5 percent in July, while the index for cereals and bakery products declined 0.4 percent and the index for other food at home fell 0.2 percent. The only major grocery store food group index to increase in July was fruits and vegetables, which rose 0.1 percent. The index for food away from home rose 0.5 percent in July, as it did in June. The index for full service meals increased 0.4 percent, following a 0.9-percent increase in June. The index for limited service meals advanced 0.6 percent in July after rising 0.5 percent in June.

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 beef increased 14.2 percent over the last 12 months, contributing to an 8.4-percent increase in the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs. The remaining groups rose more modestly, with increases ranging from 2.3 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 5.0 percent (nonalcoholic beverages). The index for food away from home rose 3.4 percent over the last year. The index for limited service meals increased 4.5 percent and the index for full service meals rose 2.9 percent over the last 12 months.

Energy

The energy index rose 2.5 percent in July after rising 5.1 percent in June. The increase was predominantly a result of the gasoline index, which rose 5.6 percent in July following a 12.3-percent increase in June. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices rose 4.8 percent in July.) The electricity index increased 0.3 percent in July, following a decline of 0.3 percent in June. The index for natural gas, in contrast, fell 1.0 percent over the month.

The energy index fell 11.2 percent over the past 12 months. The gasoline index decreased 20.3 percent, while the fuel oil index fell 27.2 percent. The index for natural gas declined 0.3 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 0.6 percent in July after increasing 0.2 percent in June. The index for motor vehicle insurance rose sharply by 9.3 percent in July following a 5.1-percent increase in June. The shelter index rose 0.2 percent in July, with the indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both increasing 0.2 percent.

The medical care index rose 0.4 percent in July, as it did in June. The index for physicians’ services increased 0.7 percent, and the index for hospital services rose 0.2 percent. The index for prescription drugs, however, decreased 0.2 percent in July after increasing 0.1 percent in June.

The index for communication increased 1.9 percent in July, as the index for wireless telephone services rose 3.6 percent. The index for used cars and trucks increased 2.3 percent over the month, ending a 3-month string of declines. The airline fares index increased 5.4 percent in July following a 2.6-percent rise in June.

Other indexes that increased in July include new vehicles (+0.8 percent), apparel (+1.1 percent), household furnishings and operations (+0.5 percent), and personal care (+0.2 percent). The recreation index declined 0.6 percent in July, as it did in June. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.6 percent over the past 12 months. The shelter index rose 2.3 percent over the 12-month span. The index for rent increased 3.1 percent and the index for owners’ equivalent rent rose 2.8 percent, while the index for lodging away from home fell 13.4 percent. The medical care index increased 5.0 percent over the last 12 months. The indexes for airline fares, apparel, motor vehicle insurance, and used cars and trucks all declined over the past 12 months.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 259.101 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.5 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 1.0 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 252.636 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.6 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 0.7 percent over the last 12 months. For the month, the index increased 0.5 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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