The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics released on January 19th its monthly report on the Consumer Price Index. The current monthly report shows an overall 3.0% rise in composite prices from December 2010 to December 2011, down from a 3.4% yearly increase in November 2010. The CPI increase for the same period ending in December 2010 was 1.7%. While 2010 had historically low in increases to the CPI, we saw some significant CPI increases during 2010, with the current CPI increase the largest since December 2006-December 2007.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in pricing of consumer goods and services purchased by households. The CPI is a measure of inflation on the cost of living expenses on a basic “basket” of market goods, and is closely monitored as a sign of economic health.
Comparing 2011 to 2010, the increase in energy prices has generally slowed. December 2010 gasoline prices had risen 13.8% from December 2009, and other indices show a similar slowing in the rate of energy inflation.
Food prices also show a significant rise. Where the December 2009- December 2010 food prices showed a modest 1.7% rise, food prices increased 6.0% from December 2010 to December 2011.
Despite price drops over the past few months, however, energy prices still have shown the significant yearly increases, with gasoline up 9.9%. Overall prices have shown some stability in the past 3 months, however and even some limited declines due to decreased energy prices. The overall price stability may not last, and positive statements throughout much of the media should be taken with a grain of salt until we see how the next few months shake out.