CPI: U.S. Consumer Inflation Rise 0.2% vs 0.3% Expected In August

by Ike Obudulu Posted on September 13th, 2018

Washington, D.C., USA: The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The consensus forecast from economists had expected the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to increase 0.3 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Increases in the indexes for shelter and energy were the main contributors to the seasonally adjusted monthly increase in the all items index. The energy index increased 1.9 percent in August; a 3.0-percent increase in the gasoline index was the largest factor, but the other energy component indexes also rose. The shelter index increased 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in July. The food index rose only slightly in August, with the index for food at home unchanged.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in August, the smallest monthly increase since April. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for airline fares and used cars and trucks were among those that increased in August. An array of indexes declined, including apparel, medical care, communication, recreation, and personal care.

The all items index rose 2.7 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller increase than the 2.9 percent increase for the 12 months ending July. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending August and the energy index increased 10.2 percent; these were both smaller increases than for the 12 months ending July. The food index increased 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as for the period ending July.

Food

The food index rose 0.1 percent in August as the index for food away from home rose 0.2 percent and the food at home index was unchanged. The major grocery store food groups generally posted small changes in August. The fruits and vegetables index was the only one to decline, falling 0.3 percent as the index for fresh fruits declined 1.4 percent.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.2 percent, and the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.1 percent, as did the index for dairy and related products. The indexes for cereals and bakery products and for other food at home were both unchanged in August.

The food at home index increased 0.5 percent over the past year. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 1.1 percent over the span; the remaining major grocery store food group indexes posted smaller increases, except for the dairy index, which was unchanged over the last 12 months. The index for food away from home rose 2.6 percent over the last year.

Energy

The energy index rose 1.9 percent in August after declining in June and July. The gasoline index rose 3.0 percent in August after declining 0.6 percent in July. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices decreased 0.3 percent in August.) The index for electricity rose 0.3 percent in August after falling in June and July. The index for natural gas also turned up in August, rising 0.9 percent after falling in each of the 5 prior months.

The energy index increased 10.2 percent over the past year. The indexes for gasoline and fuel oil rose sharply, increasing 20.3 percent and 30.9 percent, respectively. The index for natural gas rose slightly over the past 12 months, increasing 0.1 percent, while the electricity index declined 0.5 percent.

All items less food and energy

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in August. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in July. The rent index rose 0.4 percent and the index for owners’ equivalent rent advanced 0.3 percent.

The index for airline fares increased 2.4 percent in August following a 2.7-percent increase in July. The index for used cars and trucks also continued to rise, advancing 0.4 percent in August after a 1.3-percent increase in July. The index for education also increased in August.

The apparel index declined in August, falling 1.6 percent, its third consecutive decline. The medical care index declined in August, falling 0.2 percent, the same decrease as in July. The indexes for physicians’ services and hospital services both declined 0.1 percent, while the index for prescription drugs was unchanged. The index for communication fell 0.2 percent in August, and the indexes for recreation and for personal care both fell 0.1 percent. The indexes for new vehicles and for household furnishings and operations were both unchanged in August.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. The shelter index increased 3.4 percent over the last 12 months, and the medical care index rose 1.5 percent. The index for new vehicles rose 0.3 percent over the span, while the indexes for apparel and for airline fares both declined over the past 12 months.

Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.7 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 252.146 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.9 percent over the last 12 months to an index level of 246.336 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index increased 0.1 percent prior to seasonal adjustment.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.5 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.
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Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services. The CPI reflects spending patterns for each of two population groups: all urban consumers and urban wage earners and clerical workers. The all urban consumer group represents about 93 percent of the total U.S. population. It is based on the expenditures of almost all residents of urban or metropolitan areas, including professionals, the self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, and retired people, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers.

Not included in the CPI are the spending patterns of people living in rural nonmetropolitan areas, farming families, people in the Armed Forces, and those in institutions, such as prisons and mental hospitals.

Consumer inflation for all urban consumers is measured by two indexes, namely, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U).

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is based on the expenditures of households included in the CPI-U definition that meet two requirements: more than one half of the household’s income must come from clerical or wage occupations, and at least one of the household’s earners must have been employed for at least 37 weeks during the previous 12 months.

The CPI-W population represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. population and is a subset of the CPI-U population.

The CPIs are based on prices of food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, doctors’ and dentists’ services, drugs, and other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Prices are collected each month in 75 urban areas across the country from about 5,000 housing units and approximately 22,000 retail establishments (department stores, supermarkets, hospitals, filling stations, and other types of stores and service establishments).

All taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included in the index. Prices of fuels and a few other items are obtained every month in all 75 locations.

Prices of most other commodities and services are collected every month in the three largest geographic areas and every other month in other areas. Prices of most goods and services are obtained by personal visits or telephone calls by the Bureau’s trained representatives.

Other Economy News : U.S. Jobless Claims

A day ahead of the release the more closely watched monthly employment report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended September 1st.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 203,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 213,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 214,000.

With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 202,000 in December of 1969.

The less volatile four-week moving average also hit its lowest level since December of 1969, slipping by 2,750 to 209,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 212,250.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also edged down by 3,000 to 1.707 million in the week ended August 25th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped by 13,250 to 1,718,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 1,731,750, hitting its lowest level since December of 1973.

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of August.

The report is expected to show employment increased by about 191,000 jobs in August after rising by 157,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent.

Author

Ike Obudulu

Ike Obudulu

Versatile Certified Fraud Examiner, Chartered Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor with an MBA in Finance And Investments who has both worked for and consulted with some of the world's largest companies on main street and wall street in over 20 countries, Ike brings his extensive reporting and investigations experience to bear on his role as Chief Editor.
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