Consumer prices in the United States lessened in July compared to the prior month, as did the rate of inflation over the past 12 months, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.
In a reversal from the previous month, food prices advanced sharply while energy prices tumbled.
The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, rose 0.1% in July after jumping 0.3% in June. Until the easing last month, consumer prices had been running higher this year. They peaked in May at 0.4% — the highest reading since February 2013.
Food prices, in particular, have been burdensome this year. Some relief came in June when they advanced at a slower 0.1% pace. In July and for the fourth time this year, they shot up to 0.4%. They peaked in May at 0.5%. They are 2.5% higher than a year ago.
Energy prices pulled back on the month, down 0.3% after racing 3.0% in June. Still, they are 2.6% higher than a year ago.
Stripping out both food and energy prices, the so-called core inflation rate rose 0.1% in July — the same reading as previous month.
12-Month Change in Consumer Prices
In the July 2013 to July 2014 period, the inflation rate climbed 2.0% after picking up 2.1% in the 12 months ended June.
Core consumer prices in the past 12 months advanced 1.9%, the same amount as the prior month. The level is 0.1% below the Federal Reserve target inflation rate. Core consumer prices were at 2.0% as recently as May.
"The recent softening in US core consumer prices eases some of the pressure on the Fed to start considering rate hikes, although in our view only temporarily," economist Paul Dales of Capital Economics said in a note to clients.
This table has major consumer prices by category and their month-over-month changes. The final column offers year-over year changes. The prices for these items are gathered and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month.
US Inflation: Jan – Jul 2014 Consumer Prices (%)
|Jan 2014||Feb 2014||Mar 2014||Apr 2014||May 2014||June 2014||July 2014||12 Month|
|Food at home||0.1||0.5||0.5||0.4||0.7||.0||0.4||2.7|
|Food away from home||0.1||0.3||0.3||0.3||0.2||0.2||0.3||2.4|
|Gasoline (all types)||-1.0||-1.7||-1.7||2.3||0.7||3.3||-0.3||0.8|
|Utility (piped) gas service||3.6||3.6||7.5||0.3||-1.7||-2.6||-0.4||6.9|
|All items less food, energy||0.1||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.1||1.9|
|Commodities less food, energy||-0.1||-0.1||.0||0.1||0.1||0.1||.0||-0.3|
|Used cars and trucks||-0.5||-0.1||0.4||0.5||-0.1||-0.4||-0.3||0.2|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.3||0.3||0.1||0.1||2.6|
The following paragraphs offer the summary report of the Consumer Price Index by the Labor Department’s BLS as published on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.
Summary of Consumer Prices for July 2014
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.0% before seasonal adjustment.
The all items index posted its smallest seasonally adjusted increase since February; the indexes for shelter and food rose, but were partially offset by declines in the energy index and the index for airline fares. The food index rose 0.4% in July, with the food at home index also rising 0.4% after being unchanged in June. The decrease in the energy index was its first since March and featured declines in the indexes of all the major energy components.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1% in July, the same increase as in June. Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, new vehicles, personal care, and apparel all increased in July. Along with the index for airline fares, the indexes for recreation, for used cars and trucks, for household furnishings and operations, and for tobacco all declined in July.
The all items index increased 2.0% over the last 12 months, a slight decline from the 2.1% figure for the 12 months ending June. The index for all items less food and energy rose 1.9% over the last 12 months, the same figure as for the 12 months ending June. The energy index has increased 2.6%, and the food index has risen 2.5% over the span.
The food index rose 0.4% in July, its fifth increase at least that large in the last 6 months. The food at home index also rose 0.4% in July, with no declines among the six major grocery store food groups. The largest increase was posted by the other food at home index, which rose 0.7%, its largest increase since August 2011. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.5% in July, and the cereals and bakery products index increased 0.4%.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.3%, as did the dairy and related products index. The only major grocery store food group index not to rise in July was fruits and vegetables, which was unchanged. The index for fresh fruits rose 1.0%, but the fresh vegetables index fell 1.1%. The food at home index has risen 2.7% over the last 12 months. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has increased 7.6% over the span and the index for dairy and related products has risen 4.3%. The index for food away from home rose 0.3% in July after increasing 0.2% in each of the 2 previous months. It has risen 2.4% over the last 12 months.
The energy index, which had risen in each of the last 3 months, fell 0.3% in July as all of its components posted modest declines. The gasoline index fell after a series of increases, declining 0.3%. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices decreased 1.5%.) The electricity index also fell 0.3% in July; it has now risen three times and fallen three times over the last 6 months.
The fuel oil index fell 0.7% in July; this was its smallest decline in the last 5 months. The index for natural gas fell 0.4%, its third decline in a row. Despite the July declines, all the major energy component indexes have increased over the past 12 months. The index for natural gas has risen 6.9% and the electricity index has advanced 4.0%. The fuel oil index has risen 2.2%, and the gasoline index has increased 0.8%.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1% in July, the same increase as in June. The shelter index, which rose 0.2% in June, advanced 0.3% in July. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both increased 0.3%, while the lodging away from home index rose 0.2%.
The medical care index rose 0.2% in July. The index for medical care commodities rose 0.3%, with the index for prescription drugs increasing 0.5%. The index for medical care services increased 0.1%, with the hospital services index rising 0.4% but the index for physicians’ services declining 0.2%. The index for new vehicles, which fell 0.3% in June, rose 0.3% in July. The index for personal care also rose 0.3%, and the apparel index advanced 0.2%.
In contrast to these increases, the index for airline fares fell sharply in July, declining 5.9% after rising 10.9% over the previous 5 months. The index for used cars and trucks fell 0.3%, its third consecutive decline. The tobacco index, which rose 1.0% in June, also declined 0.3% in July, while the indexes for recreation and for household furnishings and operations both declined 0.1%.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 1.9% over the last 12 months. The shelter index has risen 2.9% over this span, and the medical care index has increased 2.6%. Indexes that rose more slowly over the last 12 months include the apparel index (0.3%) and the indexes for new vehicles and for used cars and trucks (both 0.2%). The indexes for airline fares and for household furnishings and operations both declined over the past year.
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.0% over the last 12 months to an index level of 238.250 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index was unchanged prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 1.9% over the last 12 months to an index level of 234.525 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index fell 0.1% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.9% over the last 12 months. For the month, the index fell 0.1% on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2012 period are subject to revision.
Next CPI Release
The scheduled Consumer Price Index release date for August 2014 is Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).