Inflation concerns muted with less than forecast increase in core CPI
Gasoline prices drove a 0.6 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Tuesday. The gasoline index rose 7 percent in September after increasing 9 percent in August. Other major energy indexes increased last month as well.
The cost of a gallon of regular gasoline averaged $3.86 in September, up from $3.70 in August, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. An increase in gas prices may inhibit consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.
Over the past year, overall consumer prices have increased 2 percent before seasonal adjustment, an increase from the August increase of 1.7 percent and the highest since April, the BLS reports.
Food prices increased 0.1 percent in September. The food at home index was unchanged from the previous month. The index for all items excluding food and energy, also known as the core CPI, rose 0.1 percent for the third consecutive month.
The index for shelter rose 0.2 percent in September for the second consecutive month. The medical care index rose 0.3 percent with the hospital services index rising 0.6 percent. Airline fares rose 1.4 percent after declining in each of the three previous months, while clothing prices rose 0.3 percent after declining in August.
In contrast, used cars and trucks prices dipped 1.4 percent, the biggest decline since February 2009. New car prices fell 0.1 percent from August. The indexes for personal care, and household furnishings and operations all posted declines.
The core CPI also rose 2 percent for the 12 months ending September. The food index has increased 1.6 percent and the energy index 2.3 percent in this same time period. Medical care costs have risen 4.1 percent over this span, while clothing prices has increased 2.7 percent.
Airline fares have declined 2.6 percent over the last 12 months, while used cars and trucks prices fell 1.6 percent.
The monthly CPI report measures the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households. Prices are collected monthly in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 retail establishments.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.