Despite price increases, inflation was held in check
The cost of living in the United States rose more than expected in February. The biggest jump in gas prices in more than three years, fueled the increase, but inflation was held in check.
The consumer price index was up 0.7 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. A 9.1 increase in gas prices comprised three-fourths of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. Over a period of more than a month from January into February, gas prices increased more than 13 percent, AAA reported last month. The average cost of a gallon of regular gas reached a four-month high of $3.79 on Feb. 26. Earlier this week, it had dropped almost 10 cents to $3.70.
The index for all items excluding the more volatile food and energy, also known as the core CPI, rose 0.2 percent in February. The indices for shelter, used cars and trucks, recreation, and medical care all rose last month, offsetting declines in the index for new vehicles, clothing, airline fares and tobacco. Food costs increased 0.1 percent, basically unchanged from January. They were up 1.6 percent over the past 12 months.
The all items index increased 2 percent over the past year, compared to a 1.6 percent increase for the 12 month period ending in January. The core CPI increased by the same percentage over the past 12 months. The energy index increased 2.3 percent.
The CPI is a measure of the average change in prices over time of goods and services purchased by households for day-to-day living, including food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation fares, doctors’ and dentists’ services, and drugs. The prices are collected monthly in 87 urban areas across the country from about 4,000 housing units and approximately 26,000 stores and service 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.