US inflation in June climbed for a fifth month in a row, and sharply for a second straight month, as American consumers paid more for a broad range of goods to include gasoline, food and housing.
The increases drove the annual rate of inflation into positive territory for the first time in 2015, according to government data released on Friday, July 17.
Consumer prices advanced 0.3% in June after soaring 0.4% in May for the highest level since February 2013, the US Labor Department showed in its monthly report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures what Americans pay for everything from cars to fish and eggs.
"Inflation is perking up," said Gregory Daco, economist at Oxford Economics. Price increases should continue in the coming months due to "stronger domestic activity and reduced pass-through from the stronger dollar."
Last month’s pace of price increases relaxed some for energy but churned for food. Prices at the pump picked up 3.4% in June compared to their May leap of 10.4%. Still, they are 23.3% lower than a year earlier. The broader price category for energy went up 1.7% last month after advancing 4.3% previously, and is down 15% from a year ago.
Americans are paying more driving to the grocery store and more when they check out of them. Food prices ramped up 0.3% last month for their first increase since February, after coming in flat for a second month in a row in May. They are 1.8% higher than a year ago. The price of eggs spiked 18.3%, the CPI report noted, its largest increase since August 1973.
Stripping out energy and food, so-called core consumer prices climbed 0.2% in June after rising 0.1% in May. They surged 0.3% in April for the biggest increase since January 2013. Core prices advanced 0.2% in each of the months from January through March. Within several watched groupings, June changes include:
- shelter, up 0.3%,
- new vehicles, up 0.1%,
- used cars and truck prices, down 0.4%,
- airline fares, up 2%
- clothing, down 0.1%,
- transportation, up 0.4%,
- medical care commodities were unchanged,
- medical care services, down -0.2%,
- tobacco, up 0.8%, and
- alcoholic beverages, down 0.2%.
In the longer period, US inflation rose 0.1% in the 12 months through June after a flat reading in May. It was the first year-to-year gain since December. As recently as April, 12-month inflation fell 0.2% for the biggest drop since October 2009. Other recent rates of inflation reported by the BLS for 2015 include:
- a dip of 0.1% in March,
- 0% in February, and
- a decline of 0.1% in January.
In rounding out the Labor Department’s report, core US inflation increased 1.8% on a year-over-year basis compared to 12-month increase of 1.7% through May. The core annual reading is the benchmark inflation rate monitored by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as it helps the central bank decide where to set the key interest rate. The Fed has a 2% annual inflation target.
"Inflation has continued to run below our longer-run objective, but we believe transitory factors have played a major role," Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers on Wednesday, July 15. "Energy prices appear to have stabilized recently."
Other 12-month advances in core inflation include 1.8% through April and March; 1.7% through February; and 1.6% through January.
Inflation data follows. The table presents monthly and annual percentage changes in the prices of consumer goods and services that are surveyed, analyzed and then summarized by the US Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/cpi).
December 2014 – June 2015 Consumer Prices – Gains & Losses in Percent
|Dec 2014||Jan 2015||Feb 2015||Mar 2015||Apr 2015||May 2015||June 2015||12 Month|
|Food at home||0.2||-0.2||0.1||-0.5||-0.2||-0.2||0.4||1.0|
|Food away from home||0.3||0.2||0.3||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||3.0|
|Gasoline (all types)||-9.2||-18.7||2.4||3.9||-1.7||10.4||3.4||-23.3|
|Utility (piped) gas service||1.4||-3.4||-2.0||-2.7||-2.6||.0||0.3||-13.0|
|All items less food, energy||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.2||1.8|
|Commodities less food, energy||-0.2||-0.1||0.2||0.3||0.1||-0.1||-0.1||-0.4|
|Used cars and trucks||-0.8||-0.1||1.0||1.2||0.6||-0.4||-0.4||-0.7|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.3||0.1||0.2||0.3||0.2||0.3||2.5|
Bureau of Labor Statistic data on United States inflation is published monthly and usually around the mid-month time frame. The information details consumer prices through to the previous month. Consumer Price Index data with July inflation and through to the latest annual period becomes public on August 19, 2015.
CPI data is used in calculating inflation rates and it is the backbone for this site’s calculator for inflation. The US Inflation Calculator provides accumulated inflation and the change in buying power of the US dollar over time.