Consumer Price Index: Don’t Bring Home the Bacon Just Yet, Inflation Continues to Rise
Home-cooked meals continue to become more and more expensive. As noted by the latest Consumer Price Index for August, released Sept. 13 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “food at home” category again rose for the month, albeit less rapidly than in previous months this year.
The price increase is still a steady 0.7% for this category, which covers groceries, with many items producing sticker shock for average American families. As GOBankingRates previously reported, citing data from the USDA, the typical household can spend up to $1,485 per month on groceries for a family of four.
Though the overall CPI remained nearly unchanged for August (just a nominal 0.1% increase, adjusted for seasonability), this was mostly offset by the sharp decreases in gasoline, which dropped by 10.6%. However, individual categories like food, shelter and medical care rose again.
In the case of food, the food away from home category (i.e. dining out) also rose by 0.9%. Though the price index has gone up here too, it’s actually the smallest monthly increase seen since December 2021.
In total, the food price index has risen 11.4% over the past 12 months, with the cost of groceries alone growing by 13.5%. That means that a trip to the store that cost maybe $200 a week in 2021 is now $227 in 2022, or an increase of more than $100/month. It’s the largest 12-month increase since 1979, according to the new report.
Breaking it down further, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the price of cereals and bakery products rose 1.2% in August while the indices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs; fruits and vegetables; and nonalcoholic beverages each increased by 0.5%. Dairy and related products also rose, but just by 0.3%, which is the smallest jump for those foods since November 2021.
Looking at the yearly tabulation shows how even these marginal increases really add up. Per the CPI, cereals and bakery goods jumped in price by 16.4% since this time in 2021, while fresh produce is up by 9.4% and dairy is up 16.2%.
With the latest data, the overall CPI for all categories — also including energy, vehicles, apparel and transportation — rose a steady 8.3% over the past 12 months. This signals that inflation, though it may be easing, is still an issue for many American families.
With these latest numbers, the Federal Reserve may be encouraged to again raise interest rates to curb the increases, though there’s been no official word yet on this development.
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