Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The Labor Department reported the sharpest monthly increase in consumer prices since last July, prior to the financial market meltdown, driven largely by a jump in energy costs.
Overall inflation rose 0.7 percent in June following an increase of 0.1 percent in May and, on a year-over-year basis, headline CPI is now down 1.4 percent (on an unadjusted basis), the largest annual decline since 1950.
Energy prices soared 7.4 percent in June paced by a 17.3 percent rise in gasoline prices while home heating oil gained only 2.0 percent and piped gas and electricity declined 1.2 percent.
As shown below, energy prices have declined more than 25 percent from year-ago levels, gasoline prices reaching their peak one year ago at over $4 a gallon.
Prices for apparel jumped 0.7 percent and recreation gained 0.5 percent, both of these categories gaining just 1.5 percent from a year ago.
In the housing category, both rent and owners' equivalent rent rose by 0.1 percent in June and are now up 2.7 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, from year ago levels, figures that would appear to be at odds with nearly every regional and anecdotal account of generally falling rent due to the glut in housing.