Consumer Price Index Shows Food and Gasoline Prices Surged Again In October

Senior woman comparing prices for meat selection.
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Prices rose once again in October, this time .9% on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising .4% in September the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. The figure represents a 12-month increase across all items of now 6.2% before seasonal adjustments.

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Inflation has been hovering around 6% for the last few months, and with the Fed’s static stance that these pressures are transitory and will eventually let up, many have been led to believe that prices will eventually begin coming off.

October’s Consumer Price Index report shows no such indication, as prices continue to inch upwards in almost all major categories.

The BLS states that the increases were “broad-based” with increases in the indexes for energy, shelter, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles being the largest contributors towards October’s gain.

The energy index rose 4.8% percent over the month alone and gasoline prices continued to spike, rising another whopping 6.1%.

Another concerning sector that continues upward price trends is the food index. Overall it added almost another whole percentage point to prices, coming in at .9% in October alone, as the food at home index rose an entire 1 percentage point.

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The price of gasoline and food are the most closely watched indexes, as they tend to be the areas that immediately affect consumers who both work and are retired. With the slow return to the office and an increase in commuter lifestyles, the trajectory of gas prices is worrying. For senior citizens living on a fixed income particularly, the increases in the prices of food at home are of significant importance.

All six major grocery store food groups continued to go up, with meat, poultry, fish and eggs rising another 1.7% following a 2.2% increase in September. The prices for beef, which have been some of the highest increases this year rose another whopping 3.1% over the month.

Indexes for shelter, used cars and trucks, new cars, medical care, household furnishing and operation, and recreation all had significant gains in October the BLS reported.

Interestingly, airline fares and alcoholic beverages were among the few to decline over the month, suggesting that Delta variant fears are not entirely squashed and people are opting to stay home rather than travel and go out.

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The 6.2% increase for the 12 months ending in October is the largest 12-month increase in over 30 years.

What’s more, the index for all items less food and energy still rose .6% in October after increasing only .2% in September. This means that underlying sectors aside from the largest contributors to price increases, like food and gasoline, also had significant increases in price.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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