The cost of living for Americans increased in January, but at a slower pace than most economists were forecasting.
Consumer prices edged up 0.2% for the month and annual inflation rose 2.6%, according to the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, data released by the Labor Department on Friday. The same December readings came in at 0.2% (revised upward from 0.1%) and 2.7%, respectively.
The CPI is the government’s key inflation barometer, measuring inflation at the consumer level. January’s increase marks the fifth straight month of 0.2% gains. Most analysts were expecting a rise of 0.3%. Either inflation level is tame.
"The broader picture remains one of subdued inflation, and this gives the Fed ample reason to stay on the sidelines until at least very late in the year," Aaron Smith, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was quoted on Bloomberg.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI surprisingly fell 0.1% in January versus a 0.1% gain in December, a number analysts were again expecting. The core 12-month reading is up 1.6%.
With the first batch of 2010 CPI figures now available for the year, the US Inflation Calculator is updated, and the buying power of the U.S. dollar can now be compared between any dates from 1913 to 2010. Additionally, the following inflation rate and data pages:
- Historic CPI Data (1913 – 2010)
- US Inflation Rates (2000 – 2010)
- Historical Inflation Rates (1914 – 2010)
- Rate of Inflation, Annual Averages
A more in depth analysis of January consumer prices may be read at U.S. Inflation Rises 2.6%.