US inflation fell for the third consecutive month as it eased to 3.7 percent in October from a year ago, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Consumer prices plunged 1 percent, the largest drop in 61 years, as energy price declines led the retreat.
Lower inflation generally makes inflationary-hedge investments in commodities like gold less attractive. The spot price of gold, however, is up in morning trading as a weakened dollar on the day has trumped inflation news.
The CoinNews Inflation Calculator and rate charts with their updated figures show inflation’s drop using the government’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. By entering any two dates from 1913-2008 and then a dollar amount, the calculator measures the change in the buying power of the dollar over time.
Inflation, rates and price figures in October…
Consumer prices fell 1 percent on a monthly basis in October. That compares to a flat reading in September, a 0.1 percent decline in August, and a 0.8 percent increase in July when inflation was at its fastest growing rate in 17 years with oil reaching a record near $147 per barrel.
The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, declined to 0.1 percent. Energy prices tumbled 8.6 percent last month, the third-straight decline, and the most since 1957.
Other interesting prices:
- Gasoline prices plummeted 14.2 percent, and natural gas prices declined 4.4 percent
- Food and beverage prices rose 0.3 percent while clothing prices decreased a full 1 percent
- New vehicle prices declined 0.5% while used prices declined 2.4%
- Airfares plunged 4.8%, the most since June 1999
What’s the real world meaning of these figures? The CoinNews Inflation Calculator can provide further historical insights.
Inflation Calculator examples
Using the calculator, anyone can determine the purchasing power of the dollar over time. A few examples after adjusting for inflation:
- An item purchased in 1913 for $1 would now cost $21.88 (down 22 cents from September figures)
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $89.86 (down 92 cents from September figures)
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $40.26 (down 41 cents from September figures)
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $124.21 in 1975
- An item purchased for $1000 in 1980 would have cost $1,586.17 in 1990
Of course, not all "goods and services" rise or fall in tandem with inflation rates. For example, many computers when adjusted for inflation are actually less expensive today (and do more) compared to years ago.
Latest Charts on Inflation Rates
The CoinNews inflation page also includes two updated charts indicating the:
- Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation
- Annual Percent Changes for Rate of Inflation or Inflation Rates