The U.S. cost of living jumped in June while year-over-year inflation declined by the sharpest amount in 59 years, new government data shows.
Consumer prices rose 0.7 percent last month, largely due to a 17.3 percent surge in gasoline prices, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
While gasoline prices peaked, they were no match for prior year figures when unleaded gasoline reached over $4 a gallon. The twelve-month decline in energy prices is greatly responsible for annual inflation falling 1.4 percent — the largest drop since January 1950.
Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and energy prices, rose by 0.2 percent in June. The core CPI is up 1.7 percent over the past year and is well within the Federal Reserve’s comfort zone of 1-2 percent.
"The risks are still to the downside, Rudy Narvas, an economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, was quoted on Bloomberg.com. "Energy prices have come off. At the same time, we have an incredible amount of slack in the labor market — and, with wage growth not there, pressure on prices will be low," he said.
To highlight a portion of Narvas’ comments, July gasoline prices have been trending lower, and well off June levels. The national average for unleaded gasoline was $2.504 a gallon on Wednesday compared to $2.669 a month back, according to AAA.
Consumer price figures in June
Several interesting price figures for June follow:
- Overall energy prices rose 7.4%
- New vehicles prices rose 0.7% after a 0.5% gain in May
- Used car and truck prices rose 0.9% following a 1.0% in May
- Tobacco and smoking products increased 0.8%
- Airfares fell 0.6% after two months of 1.5% declines
- Electricity costs dropped by 1.9%
Inflation Calculator update
Using the most recent Consumer Price Index data, the CoinNews US Inflation Calculator shows how consumer prices have changed over the years. By entering any two dates from 1913-2009 and then a dollar amount, the calculator measures the buying power of the dollar over time. Inflation over the years can be seen with these few calculator examples:
- An item purchased in 1913 for $1 would now cost $21.79
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $89.50
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $40.09
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $124.71 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
While the Inflation Calculator is more of a general financial interest tool, specific numismatic calculators and tools may be found via the CoinNews menu: "COIN PRICING & COLLECTOR TOOLS".
The CoinNews sister site with the same US Inflation Calculator offers additional information on consumer prices and inflation rates.