Consumer Price Index: August Headline at 8.26%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August Consumer Price Index data last week. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 8.26%, down from 8.52% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 6.32%, up from 5.91% the previous month.
Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after being unchanged in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase. These increases were mostly offset by a 10.6-percent decline in the gasoline index. The food index continued to rise, increasing 0.8 percent over the month as the food at home index rose 0.7 percent. The energy index fell 5.0 percent over the month as the gasoline index declined, but the electricity and natural gas indexes increased.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in August, a larger increase than in July. The indexes for shelter, medical care, household furnishings and operations, new vehicles, motor vehicle insurance, and education were among those that increased over the month. There were some indexes that declined in August, including those for airline fares, communication, and used cars and trucks. The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller figure than the 8.5percent increase for the period ending July.
The all items less food and energy index rose 6.3 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index increased 23.8 percent for the 12 months ending August, a smaller increase than the 32.9-percent increase for the period ending July. The food index increased 11.4 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979. Read more
Investing.com was looking for a -0.1% MoM change in seasonally adjusted Headline CPI and a 0.3% in Core CPI. Year-over-year forecasts were 8.1% for Headline and 6.1% for Core.
The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century. The highlighted two percent level is the Federal Reserve's Core inflation target for the CPI's cousin index, the BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.
The next chart shows both series since 1957, the year the government first began tracking Core Inflation.
In the wake of the Great Recession, two percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation. However, at their December 2012 FOMC meeting, the inflation ceiling was raised to 2.5% while their accommodative measures (low Fed Funds Rate and quantitative easing) were in place. They have since reverted to the two percent target in their various FOMC documents.
Federal Reserve policy, which in recent history has focused on core inflation measured by the core PCE Price Index, will see that the more familiar core CPI is now well above the PCE target range of 2 percent.
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