The Consumer Price Index showed a September 0.3% increase. The culprits were shelter, which soared up 0.4% for the month and gasoline, which rose 5.8% for the month. Food inflation had no change. Inflation with food and energy price changes removed increased 0.1% as shelter and medical costs are part of core inflation. From a year ago overall CPI has now risen 1.5%, the highest annual increase in 23 months. Without energy and food considered, prices have increased 2.2% for the year. CPI measures inflation, or price increases.
Yearly overall inflation is shown in the below graph and we can see the 1.5% uptick.
Core inflation, or CPI with all food and energy items removed from the index, has increased 2.2% for the last year. For the past decade the annualized inflation rate has been 1.9%. Core inflation is the figure the Federal Reserve considers for interest rate increase decisions.
Core CPI's monthly percentage change is graphed below. This month core inflation increased 0.1%. Within core inflation, shelter increased 0.4%, with monthly rental costs increasing 0.3% and home ownership increased 0.4%. Shelter overall is up 3.4% for the year with rent increasing 3.7% annually. Car insurance increased 0.4% and has been rising, now 6.4% for the year. Apparel declined by -0.7% and is down -0.1% for the year.
The energy index is down only -2.9% from a year ago. The BLS separates out all energy costs and puts them together into one index. For the year, gasoline has declined -6.4%,as has fuel oil. Graphed below is the overall CPI energy index.
Graphed below is the CPI gasoline index and for the month gasoline prices increased 5.8%.
Graphed below is the rent price index which has been soaring for some time and is up 3.7% for the year.
Food prices had no change for the month. Food and beverages have now decreased by -0.3% from a year ago. Groceries, (called food at home by the BLS), slid -0.1% for the month, and are down -2.2% for the year. Rice fell by -2.4%. for the month. Meats dropped by -0.7%. Dairy increased 0.1% for the month. Eating out, or food away from home increased 0.2% for the month and is up 2.4% for the year.
Graphed below are grocery prices, otherwise known as the food at home index.
The Medical care index rose 0.2% and this is the smallest monthly increase since March. Prescription drugs increased 0.8% while hospital services prices did not change. . Graphed below is the overall medical care index, which increased 0.5% for the month and is up 4.9% from a year ago.
Below is a graph of the medical commodities index, which is mostly prescription drug prices.
Real hourly earnings decreased by -0.1% for all employees. Real means wages adjusted for inflation. CPI increased 0.3% while wages only increased by 0.2% For the year real hourly earnings have increased 1.0%, which isn't that much of an improvement. The average real hourly wage is now $10.70 and the average wage, not adjusted for inlfation is $25.79 Weekly real earnings increased 0.2% as hours rose a tenth of a percentage point. Real weekly earnings now stand at $369.12. Average weekly hours increased 0.3% and weekly wages increased 0.5%. The work week is now 34.4 hours. There is a separate category for production and nonsupervisory employees and their real hourly earnings decreased by -0.1% to $9.23 and their real weekly earnings also decreased -0.1% to $309.07.
The DOL/BLS does take yearly surveys on where the money goes in the monthly budget, but as one can see, food and energy are significant amounts of the monthly finances. Run away costs in these two areas can break the bank, so can food. Additionally CPI uses substitution, so if flour goes through the roof, somehow we're all just fine with oats and prices didn't really overall increase much. Here is the BLS CPI site, where one can find much more details, information on calculation methods and error margins.
Other CPI report overviews, unrevised, although most graphs are updated, are here. If you're wondering why the graphs display different figures from the text, the graphs calculate percentages from the index and do not round. The actual data from the BLS report does round to one decimal place. In other words, 0.05% is rounded to 0.1%.