Economy Watch: CPI Stable in June

The cost of energy declined again in June, falling 1.6 percent, which offset an increase for all items besides food and energy, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Consumer Price Index remained the same in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week. The cost of energy declined again in June, falling 1.6 percent, which offset an increase for all items besides food and energy. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.6 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1 percent in June, its third straight such increase. The cost of shelter continued to rise, and the price of medical care, motor vehicle insurance, education and personal care also increased. The cost of airline fares, used cars and trucks, wireless telephone services and new vehicles declined in June.

All the major energy component indexes declined in June, with the volatile price of gasoline falling 2.8 percent. The cost of food didn’t change in June, with the food at home declining slightly as five of the six major grocery store food group indexes decreased.

Construction prices edge up

Separately, construction input prices—materials and energy—rose 0.2 percent in June, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released late last week by Associated Builders and Contractors. That represents the sixth increase in such prices over the past seven months, but the overall rate of increase has been slow. Year-over-year, construction input prices are up 2.6 percent.

Nonresidential construction input prices also rose 0.2 percent in June and are up 2.3 percent on an annual basis. Much of the input price inflation in June was due to increased charges for crude oil, which registered a price increase approaching 9 percent.

Seven of 11 key inputs experienced increases in prices in June, such as iron and steel, concrete, fabricated structural metal products, and prepared asphalt. Only softwood lumber prices, which fell 3 percent for the month, experienced much of a decline.