Consumer Prices Increase Slowly in September


Consumer prices rose at a slower pace in September, while energy prices increased and food prices were unchanged.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.2% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, slower than a 0.4% increase in August and a 0.6% increase in July. Excluding the volatile food and energy components, “core” CPI rose by 0.2% in September, after increases of 0.6% in July and 0.4% in August. The September increase in the “core” CPI was led by sharp increases in the index for used cars and trucks. The index for used cars and trucks rose by 6.7% in September, the largest monthly increase since February 1969. The indexes for shelter (0.1%), recreation (0.2%), and new vehicles (0.3%) all rose. Meanwhile, the indexes for apparel (-0.5%) and transportation services (-0.9%) declined in September, and the indexes for medical care commodities and medical care services were unchanged.

In September, the price index for a broad set of energy sources rose by 0.8%, after an increase of 0.9% in August. It was the fourth straight increase in energy prices following five consecutive declines at the beginning of 2020, from January to May. The food index was unchanged in September, following a 0.1% increase in August. The index for food at home decreased by 0.4% in September, while the index for food away from home continued to rise.

During the past twelve months, on a not seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI rose by 1.4% in September, following a 1.3% increase in August. Meanwhile, the “core” CPI increased by 1.7% over the past twelve months, the same increase as in August. The food index rose by 3.9% and the energy index declined by 7.7% over the past twelve months.

BLS data collection in September was again affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. BLS mentioned in the today’s news release that many indexes are based on smaller amounts of collected prices than usual, and a small number of indexes that are normally published were not published this month.


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