Inflation declined in August for the first time since January yet remained at the same level over the past year, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released Wednesday, September 16, 2015.
Decreases for the month came as the cost of gasoline cheapened along with other items like airline fares, household furnishings and operations, recreation, and used cars and trucks. American paid more for food, however, along with items like shelter, clothing, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages.
In August, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% after rising 0.1% in July.
"Despite many signs of stronger [economic] growth — jobs, retail sales, auto sales, home sales — there is very mild inflation pressure," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Energy prices declined 2%, their first fall since April. The same is true for gasoline, which dropped 4.1% in August. Energy costs over the past year have plunged 15%, with gasoline diving 23.3%.
"The gasoline index declined sharply in August and was the main cause of the seasonally adjusted all items decrease," the Labor Department said in its report.
The price of food went up for a third month in a row and by 0.2% for a second straight month. Compared to a year earlier, food prices are 1.6% higher.
Stripping food and energy, the so-called core consumer prices climbed 0.1% in August, the same as in July.
Annual inflation in the United States registered at 0.2% from August 2014 through August 2015, the same level as the 12 months ended July.
Lastly, core inflation picked up 1.8% over the past 12 months, matching the prior two annually based increases. The core reading is a key inflation figure monitored by the Federal Reserve, which has a stated inflation target of 2%.
Below are most-watched consumer prices by category as well as their month-over-month changes. The final column offers the annual changes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gathers the prices each month. For the full BLS summary report for August, visit: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_09162015.htm.
Table of US Inflation / Consumer Prices (%)
|Feb 2015||Mar 2015||Apr 2015||May 2015||June 2015||July 2015||August 2015||12 Month|
|Food at home||0.1||-0.5||-0.2||-0.2||0.4||0.3||0.3||0.8|
|Food away from home||0.3||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||.0||0.2||2.7|
|Gasoline (all types)||2.4||3.9||-1.7||10.4||3.4||0.9||-4.1||-23.3|
|Utility (piped) gas service||-2.0||-2.7||-2.6||.0||0.3||-1.4||1.3||-11.5|
|All items less food, energy||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.2||0.1||0.1||1.8|
|Commodities less food, energy||0.2||0.3||0.1||-0.1||-0.1||-0.1||-0.1||-0.5|
|Used cars and trucks||1.0||1.2||0.6||-0.4||-0.4||-0.6||-0.4||-1.5|
|Services less energy||0.1||0.2||0.3||0.2||0.3||0.2||0.1||2.6|
The Consumer Price Index report for September has a scheduled release date of October 15, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).