Consumer Price Index had No Change, Core CPI up 0.2% for June 2012

The June Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, was unchanged from May. The reason was gasoline prices, which dropped again, this time -2.0% from last month and up 1.7% for the year. Cheaper gas offset other increases. Below is the graph for CPI's monthly percentage change.



Below is the CPI change from a year ago.



Energy overall decreased -1.4%. The BLS separates out all energy costs and puts them together into one index. Energy is also mixed in with other indexes, such as heating oil for the housing index and gas for the transportation index. The energy index is down -3.9% for the last 12 months. Fuel oil, not seasonally adjusted, decreased -7.9% for the month.

The gasoline index alone decreased -2.0% for June, but is down -4.3% from this time last year. This figure is seasonally adjusted. This is the third month in a row gasoline prices have dropped. In spite of this, historical speaking, filling up the tank is still pretty expensive. Graphed below is the CPI gasoline index.



Below are gas prices, last updated July 16th and bear in mind the CPI percentages are for June.



Piped natural gas increased +1.7% for the month and is down -13.6% for the year. Electricity decreased -0.5% and from a year ago, electricity has increased 0.5%. Graphed below is the household energy index which includes electricity and natural gas, shown by monthly percentage change. This month the index decreased -0.6%. This is a different, special index to show the overall costs for energy into your home.


household energy CPI


Below is the overall CPI energy index, it's all things energy.



Core inflation, or CPI minus food and energy, increased 0.2% for June. Core inflation has risen 2.2% for the year and has increased monthly by 0.2% for four months in a row now. Core inflation is still above the 1.9% ten year average increase. Core CPI is one of the Federal Reserve inflation watch numbers. In the graphs below one can see core inflation has been tame and steady. This is also a number the Fed would watch to consider more quantitative easing, which increases commodity prices.



Core CPI's monthly percentage change is graphed below.


core cpi


Shelter increased 0.1% and is up 2.2% for the year, about a 0.1 percentage point increase from the last 10 year average of 2.1%. Rent increased 0.2%, home owner's equivalent rent increased 0.1%. Hotels & Motels increased 0.9% for the month. Used cars & trucks had no change and is up 2.3% from a year ago. New cars increased 0.2% and are up 0.9% for the year. Apparel from a year ago, increased 3.9% and is up 0.5% for the month. Airfares dropped -2.5% for the month.

Graphed below is the percentage change from a year ago of rent, the largest monthly household expense for people who can least afford increases as those with less money disproportionately rent vs. own. Rent increased 0.1% for the month and has increased 2.7% from a year ago.


cpi rent


Food and beverages overall increased 0.2% for June and are up 2.7% from a year ago. The food at home index (think groceries), increased 0.1% and is up 2.6% for the year. Fresh Fruits & veggies increased 3.2%, while meats increased 0.2%. Dairy declined -0.3%.

Eating out, or food away from home increased 0.2% from last month and is up 2.9% from a year ago.



The Medical care index increased 0.6%, the largest monthly increase since September 2010. Hospital services increased 1.2% and Doctor fees increased 0.8% for the month. Medical care is up 4.0% from a year ago. Medical commodities are things like your prescription drugs and increased 0.1%.


CPI Medical


According to the BLS, for the year, food and beverages, which includes food at home, made up 14.2% of the index. Housing is 40.6% and transportation, including gas for the car, is 17.5%. Medical care is only 7.1%, they claim. All items minus food and energy are considered 75.6% of the total price expenditures for consumers.

The DOL/BLS does take yearly surveys on where the money goes in the monthly budget, but as one can see, food and energy are significant amounts of the monthly finances. Run away costs in these two areas can break the bank, so can food. Additionally CPI uses substitution, so if steak goes through the roof, somehow we're all just fine with hamburger and prices didn't really overall increase much.

CPI-W for the month, unadjusted was 229.478, a 1.6% increase for the year, and declined -0.1% for the month, although not seasonally adjusted. CPI-W is used to calculate government transfer payments, such as social security increases.

Last month's CPI report overview, unrevised, although most graphs are updated, is here.

If you're wondering why the graphs look weird, the graph calculates percentages from the index and doesn't round. The actual data from the BLS report does round to one decimal place. In other words, 0.05% is rounded to 0.1%.

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Cleveland Fed, Median CPI 0.1%

For those hunting high and low for the infamous hint of more quantitative easing, not given by Bernanke today, you might read this from the Cleveland Fed.

16% "trimmed" just means the outlinears are toasted out and then the median is calculated.

For the last 12 months the "trimmed" is up 2.2%. We noticed "some" are claiming this means inflation is seriously abating. Not from what we can tell, not on core, or this "trimmed" CPI value. It more simply looks like we've gotten a break from energy prices, relief from yet another oil bubble.